Supreme Court To Hear Case, Set Precedent On Interoperability For Tech Products

BY Heather Greenfield
October 6, 2020

Washington — The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case Wednesday that has implications for much of the tech industry and the economy. The Google v. Oracle case, which has been litigated for more than a decade, could determine whether the reuse of certain program elements necessary for interoperability is an infringement of copyright law.

For competing tech companies to offer products that operate on an existing system, using compatible coding language is critical. The Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether Google violated copyright by using less than 0.5% of the Java application programming interface (API) in Android so that Java programmers could more easily write apps for Android smartphones.

Oracle historically has benefited from and supported interoperability. However it has more recently reversed its position since Oracle acquired the copyright in the Java API when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2010 and sued Google that same year.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association filed an amicus brief in this Supreme Court case earlier this year, as well as several other briefs in earlier stages of the case, compiled on our resource page here. The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:

“For decades, CCIA has fought for permissionless innovation, which has been a key factor in the economic success of many companies, including Oracle.  Ensuring that copyright does not impede competition is vital to the development of the technology industry.  We look forward to the Court affirming that copyright law does extend to basic principles of computer code.”

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