Computer Scientists Speak Out Against Copyrighting of Java APIs

The ongoing copyright battle between Google and Oracle does not just impact the two computer giants. As the case heads before the Federal U.S. Circuit of Appeals, 32 computer scientists and software developers have weighed in on whether copyright law should protect application-programming interfaces (APIs).

Oracle recently appealed last year’s decision that Google did not commit copyright infringement when it copied Oracle’s software code to build the Android mobile operating system. U.S. District Judge William Alsup concluded that the software code was not protected under copyright law as a matter of law, finding that the APIs were a functional part of the Java platform and should be available to others using it.

In the brief filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a number of well-known computer scientists, including MS-DOS author Tim Paterson and ARPANET developer Larry Roberts, argue that Alsup got it right.

“The freedom to reimplement and extend existing APIs has been the key to competition and progress in the computer field—both hardware and software,” the brief states.
”Should the court reverse Judge Alsup’s well-reasoned opinion, it will hand Oracle and others the ability to monopolize any and all uses of systems that share their APIs. API creators would have veto power over any developer who wants to create a compatible program,” the brief further argues.

Given the potential implications on software copyrights, I will continue to monitor the case and provide updates as they become available.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Oracle Vs. Google, Copyright War Round 2.

If you thought the copyright war between Google and Oracle was over, think again. Oracle  appealed last year’s decision that Google did not commit copyright infringement when it copied Oracle’s software code to build the Android mobile operating system.

On appeal, the Federal U.S. Circuit of Appeals will be asked to reconsider whether application programming interfaces (APIs) can be copyrighted.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup previously concluded that the software code was not protected under copyright law as a matter of law.

On appeal, Oracle contends that the decision was “decidedly unfair.” Interestingly, to illustrate its point, Oracle took a page from Harry Potter.

“Ann Droid wants to publish a bestseller. So she sits down with an advance copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — the fifth book — and proceeds to transcribe. She verbatim copies all the chapter titles—from Chapter 1 (‘Dudley Demented’) to Chapter 38 (‘The Second War Begins’). She copies verbatim the topic sentences of each paragraph, starting from the first (highly descriptive) one and continuing, in order, to the last, simple one (‘Harry nodded.’). She then paraphrases the rest of each paragraph. She rushes the competing version to press before the original under the title: Ann Droid’s Harry Potter 5.0,” the brief reads.

“Google Inc. has copied a blockbuster literary work just as surely, and as improperly, as Ann Droid—and has offered the same defenses.”

Sot the battle between Oracle and Google is heating up again. Given the potential implications on software copyrights, I  will continue to monitor the case and provide updates as they become available.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Oracle and SAP still at it.

Despite, SAP AG agreeding to pay $306 million to resolve a long-running copyright infringement lawsuit by Oracle Corp., the litigation is not really over.

The case, which began in 2007, has a storied history. Oracle filed the lawsuit after discovering that an SAP unit had infringed certain Oracle software. Shortly before the trial began, SAP admitted that a former subsidiary, TomorrowNow, had illegally downloaded Oracle’s intellectual property.

The jury ultimately awarded Oracle $1.3 billion in damages, which remains one of the largest damages award for infringement of intellectual property. On appeal, however, the appellate court invalidated the award, concluding that the evidence did not support the high figure. A new trial on damages was scheduled to begin this month.

Despite the settlement, Oracle has filed an appeal seeking to reinstate the jury verdict.  Also, SAP will not be required to pay the damages until after all appeals or new trials in the case are resolved. If Oracle wins a judgement that is less than $306 million in any subsequent ruling or trial, SAP will reportedly pay the difference under the terms of the settlement.

As this case highlights, all companies (large or small) must be particularly mindful of the activities of subsidiaries because they may ultimately be held responsible for any IP-related liability. Therefore, it is imperative to provide employee training across the board regarding what types of conduct can constitute infringement.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, needs help with intellectual property training, I can help you devise a training plan and present training to all levels in a company.  To protect your valuable intellectual property rights; please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman

The Impact Of EU Copyright Protection for Software On U.S. Litigation.

The European Union’s Court of Justice has repeatedly confirmed that computer software is not eligible for copyright protection.  While this is a win for many in the software industry that rely on reverse engineering, its impact on U.S. copyright litigation is unknown.

In the court’s decision in  SAS Institute Inc. v. World Programming Ltd., the court concluded that “neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program” are expressive enough to qualify for copyright protection.

“To accept that the functionality of a computer program can be protected by copyright would amount to making it possible to monopolise ideas, to the detriment of technological progress and industrial development,” the court said.

Oracle and Google, among others, are currently litigating several software copyright infringement claims here in the U.S.  Oracle has argued for an even broader interpretation of copyright law as it applies to software, contending that the structure, sequence, and organization of its Java APIs are copyrightable, while Google maintains that Oracle is overreaching.  As previously reported, Oracle did not fair well in the initial case and is still mulling appeals.

How Can I Help?

If you need help to protect your software here or abroad, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman