Many software applications use the free Java programming language, originally developed by Oracle. But is Java fair game to any developer who uses it, or is the language ultimately the intellectual property of its creator? That’s what the Federal Circuit is left to discern as a 3-year-old Oracle suit against Google makes its way to the appeals court.
On Dec. 4, the court heard arguments in a case that claims Google’s use of 37 Java application programming interfaces (APIs) in its Android operating system infringes upon Oracle’s patent rights and copyright. In its appeal to the Federal Circuit, Oracle wrote that Google “took the most important, the most appealing” sections of Java without asking the original creator for permission.