A seemingly drastic turn of events in the appeals court has reversed the ruling on some elements of the Google-Oracle trial.
The ruling enables Oracle to claim copyright ownership over some parts of Java. The crux of the trial was whether API names and constructs could be owned. The initial decision said that it couldn’t, giving Google a landslide victory. However, the appeal court papers now say the exact opposite:
For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organiza- tion of the 37 Java API packages are entitled to copyright protection. Because there is an insufficient record as to the relevant fair use factors, we remand for further proceedings on Google’s fair use defense.
In one part of the document, the Federal Circuit lays out the areas in which Oracle objected to the original decision. This included things like the issue over whether short phrases are copyrightable. It says the appeals court agrees with ‘Oracle on each point’.
The case will now be handed off to the the district court in California for a new trial on ‘fair use’ damages.