A federal judge ruled dealt another blow to Oracle in its ongoing copyright battle against Google.
Judge William Alsup wrote in a 41-page opinion that Oracle could not copyright 37 Java APIs that it said Google used without permission.
So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API. It does not matter that the declaration or method header lines are identical. Under the rules of Java, they must be identical to declare a method specifying the same functionality — even when the implementation is different. When there is only one way to express an idea or function, then everyone is free to do so and no one can monopolize that expression. And, while the Android method and class names could have been different from the names of their counterparts in Java and still have worked, copyright protection never extends to names or short phrases as a matter of law.
Oracle was seeking damages from Google for the Mountain View-based search company alleged use of the patents in its mobile operating system Android without permission.
Thursday's opinion comes a week after a jury said Google was not guilty of patent infringement on two of the counts.
The trial has seen the CEOs of both companies testify and it was once touted as a possible multi-billion dollar case.