This article appeared in The Intellectual Property Strategist, an ALM/Law Journal Newsletters publication that provides a practical source of both business and litigation tactics in the fast-changing area of intellectual property law, including litigating IP rights, patent damages, venue and infringement issues, inter partes review, trademarks on social media – and more.
On April 5, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ended a copyright case that left as many questions as it gave answers, in Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc., 141 S.Ct. 1183 (2021). In a lengthy decision, the Court cleared Google of copyright infringement in terminating a 16-year long dispute as to whether Google’s Android mobile platform had infringed Oracle’s Java programming language’s copyright. A 6-2 panel (Justice Barrett did not participate) found in favor of Google, holding that its use the copied code constituted fair use. However, the Court did not answer the question of whether specific components of computer software qualifies for copyright protection at all.