Google has won the legal battle against Oracle. The news does not seem like a big deal until you realize that with that triumph what you feel is a fundamental precedent that makes the future of software and the developers who create it is much more flattering.
After a decade of back and forth, the Supreme Court of the United States took a position in favor of Google and affirmed that they had made a “fair use” of the Java APIs that belong to Oracle. The impact in the world of software development is enormous.
We talk about this question that does not seem like a big deal but that really is in this episode of Despeja la X, in which we participate Enrique Perez (@lyzanor), Xataka editor, and a server, Javier Pastor (@javipas), also editor in this house. The production is as always in charge of Santi Araújo (@santiaraujo).
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Developers can breathe easy
Large companies innovate, do not litigate. That’s at least what Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz said long before his company fell into the hands of Oracle. It seemed like a premonitory phrase, because Oracle ended up using Sun’s Java patents to immediately sue Google, which they claimed had indiscriminately copied their APIs.
That lawsuit triggered a judicial process that has lasted more than a decade and that has suffered several ups and downs. In one of the most surprising, one of the judges involved in the case, William Alsup —Who had already done its first steps digging code— ended up learning how to program in Java to better understand what the whole dispute was about.
Following rulings that temporarily favored both Google and Oracle, the case reached the Supreme Court. At the end of last year the oral defenses of the arguments were held, and these days we have finally been able to know the verdict: Google made a fair or legitimate use (“fair use”) of the Java APIs, causing Oracle’s claims to be dismissed.
That poses a future in which developers they can breathe easy when creating their applications and games, which might otherwise have been threatened by constant lawsuits similar to the one Oracle had made. The software world benefits from this legal precedent, which succeeds in establishing that certain components of the software are not subject to copyright.
The sentence is a breath of fresh air in a country like America where patenting is almost a sport and in which the figure of the ‘patent trolls’ has made companies appear that do not create or produce anything, and that are dedicated to suing others from a previously acquired catalog of patents.
Oracle had acted in that direction in this case, but fortunately the ruling favors Google in particular and the software world in general. Fiu.
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