This program offers 1 participatory MCLE credit.
Presented by the Licensing Interest Group
On November 15, 2019, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the final appeal of Oracle v. Google, with dramatic global implications for interoperability, innovation, and competition. The culmination of over nine years of furiously fought litigation between two technology titans, this case concerns nothing less than the scope of copyright protection for software and the freedom to interoperate.
In 2007, Google developed the Android smartphone operating system to be compatible with the Java platform by copying the Java application programming interfaces (APIs) originally developed by Sun Microsystems, the company that invented Java. By leveraging the existing massive Java developer base, Google’s actions made it easy for Java developers to write applications for Android.
After Oracle acquired Sun in 2010, Oracle sued Google for copyright infringement predicated on Google’s use of the Java APIs. The case has generated two appeals to the US Federal Circuit Court, in which Google lost both. In the first, the Federal Circuit ruled that the Java APIs at issue are copyrightable. In the second, the same court held that Google’s use of such APIs was not fair use as a matter of law. The latter ruling is now on appeal to the US Supreme Court, but the scope of the Supreme Court’s review could encompass both rulings.
As a former Java technology licensing lawyer (Assistant General Counsel) at Sun, and a frequent writer and speaker on this topic, Sean Hogle is uniquely qualified to lead this presentation on what is shaping up to be the most significant software copyright case in a generation. Participants can expect to master the factual and procedural background of the case, understand the critiques and defenses of the Federal Circuit’s rulings, and fathom its future implications with full appreciation of what’s at stake.