Google is sticking with Williams & Connolly in its high-stakes copyright showdown with Oracle Corp., notwithstanding the departure of a star Supreme Court advocate.
Kannon Shanmugam decamped for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in January, three days after appearing as counsel of record on Google’s petition for certiorari in Google v. Oracle. The search giant is seeking to overturn Federal Circuit decisions that found portions of Java’s application program interfaces are copyrightable, and that Google’s copying of portions of them into its Android operating system is not a fair use.
On Wednesday Google filed its reply to Oracle’s brief in opposition. Williams & Connolly remains on the brief, with new Supreme Court practice leader Lisa Blatt heading their group . Goldstein & Russell partner Thomas Goldstein, who was among those listed on the cert petition, is now counsel of record. Keker, Van Nest & Peters; King & Spalding and Kwun Bhansali Lazarus round out Google’s team.
In its reply, Google reiterates in its view that Google v. Oracle is “the copyright case of the decade” with implications for tens of thousands of software interfaces that run on billions of devices.
Oracle had argued in its BIO that “software interface” is a phrase Google made up for this litigation. Google says Oracle “feigns confusion” about “a widely used term of art” that refers to the API declarations that organize and name common functions.
Oracle had also argued that the sky isn’t falling on software developers as Google has warned would happen in the wake of the Federal Circuit rulings. But Google says just wait: “Until now, it remained open whether the re-use of software interfaces was lawful fair use,” the company argued in Wednesday’s filing. “The Federal Circuit’s holding to the contrary is regarded by the industry as definitive, triggering an outpouring of support for this court’s intervention.”
Google has now cycled through four lead appellate lawyers over the course of the nine-year-old litigation. Keker’s Robert Van Nest, who tried both cases for Google, argued the first appeal to the Federal Circuit. King & Spalding’s Daryl Joseffer, now with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Litigation Center, signed Google’s first Supreme Court cert petition and then argued its second appeal to the Federal Circuit.