When Oracle brought an IP case against Google back in 2010 for the use of Java in its Android system, the Search Giant defended this as “fair use” which should be excepted from copyright law. Oracle’s claim included the infringement of patents and copyright on Java APIs. The court cleared Google on the patent charges and ruled out the Android’s infringement on Oracle’s copyrights. This decision was recently overturned by US Appeals Court which ruled that APIs can indeed be copyrighted.
Judges in the Appeals court ruled out Google’s claim that Android was interoperable with Java. Java part as an industry standard is the main basis for Google’s argument. The court however rejected this citing that despite a technology becoming an industry standard, it can still be copyrighted. By utilizing Java APIs, Google took advantage of a programmer community that was already in place instead of just starting from scratch and developing their own APIs.