Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Google wins intellectual property dispute over use of Java

Many New Jersey residents who own smartphones regularly use Android software. Google developed Android by using some elements of Java that allow software programs to work together. Though Google provides Android software to smartphone manufacturers for free, the owner of Java wants to be paid for the use of its intellectual property.

Oracle, the software company that owns the rights to the programming language known as Java, began intellectual property litigation against Google several years ago. On May 26, a federal jury hearing the retrial of the original case sided against Oracle and determined that Google qualified for the fair use exemption to copyright law. Though Google used Java when it developed Android, the jury agreed with Google that the Java elements were used to create something new and different. Oracle plans to appeal the verdict, a spokesperson said.

Fair use exemptions are often used by artists or art critics when they cite a small part of an artist's work to create something new or comment on the work sited. The case between Oracle and Google was of interest to many software companies that believed an Oracle victory would stall innovation. Oracle sought $9 billion in compensation from Google, and the company has stated that it will be appealing the jury's verdict.

For software companies, simply applying for copyrights may not be enough to prevent intellectual property theft. Often, a software company must have to pursue infringement litigation with the help of its attorneys against competitors that are using its intellectual property without its permission if the parties are unable to resolve the matter informally through negotiations or mediation.

Source: CBS News, "Jury sides with Google in $9 billion intellectual property battle," May 27, 2016

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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