The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in the decade-long battle between Google and Oracle over use of copyrighted pieces of Java software in the Android smartphone operating system. Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc., Case No. 18-956 (Supr Ct, Nov. 15 2019) (cert granted).

The dispute has been the subject of two prior decisions by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: one regarding copyrightability of a software interface (IP Update Vol. 17) and the other regarding the fair use doctrine (IP Update, Vol. 21, No. 4). In both instances, the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of Oracle.

The questions presented are:

  • Whether copyright protection extends to a software interface
  • Whether, as the jury found, petitioner’s use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use.