Oracle Claims That Its Java APIs Are Protected

In May of 2012, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup decided that APIs aren't covered by copyright law. Google used Oracle's 37 Java APIs in Android. Oracle claimed that the APIs are copyrightable. Google is not using any Oracle code; Google developed their own code to implement the APIs. It is the structure, organization and sequence of the APIs (such as function names) that Oracle claims was copyrightable but the judge disagreed. It was agreed that a small amount of code was copied but zero dollars was awarded from that.

This lawsuit was the second of two in which Oracle, the relatively new owner of Java, aggressively attempted to protect Java from enhanced used by others, yet they have not been successful in either case.

Earlier this month, Oracle filed an appeal. Last week, other companies, including Microsoft, filed "friends of the court" briefs, which is a legal method to help a plaintiff, helping Oracle with this case. The other companies are not all claiming that they are damaged directly by Google's use of the Java APIs but they claim that they are potentially damaged in similar situations. In other words, Microsoft is attempting to claim that APIs can be protected by copyright.