Google asks Supreme Court to reopen Java copyright case against Oracle

Google has asked the US Supreme Court to reignite an ongoing copyright dispute with Oracle over the Java programming language, which gives core functionality to the Android operating system.

The argument goes back to 2010, when Oracle claimed $1.3 billion in damages against Google for infringing on patents and copyright related to seven Java APIs.

Google was one of the first companies to face Oracle's scrutiny over the use of Java APIs after it acquired Sun Microsystems, the original developers of Java, in 2010.

In 2012, the jury in the case concluded the structure of the APIs used in the Android operating system were not copyrightable.

But in May this year Oracle finally won its case against the search giant after a US judged ruled that Google did not ask for permission to use the APIs.

Now Google is hitting back in a bid to overturn the appeals court ruling from Oracle through the highest court in the US.

Software patent war expert and Oracle consultant Florian Mueller commented on the case in a blog post today that the case is far more interesting from a strategic point of view than the majority of smartphone-related patent disputes by major players, 90 per cent of which are dropped.

"It's a safe guess," said Mueller, "that Google will try to mobilise all sorts of advocacy groups, as it did before, and they will all say the sky is falling on software developers and no one will dare implement APIs anymore."

IT Pro contacted Oracle and Google for more information, but both declined to comment further.