A case that could turn software industry on its head (sfgate – Java Training Courses)

In a case unfolding in San Francisco District Court, Oracle alleges that Google violated its intellectual property in developing the popular Android smart phone. Specifically, it claims the Mountain View search company used 37 “application programming interface packages,” or APIs, for the Java programming language without paying licensing fees.

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Many observers think that if the court decides in Oracle’s favor, it will raise the cost of Android software for handset makers and consumers, as Google would be forced to spend more money on a product that it gives away for free. Moreover, some worry it could substantially increase the cost, hassle and legal risks surrounding software development in general.
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“Should Oracle be able to convince the court (that the APIs) are fully protected by copyright and were substantially copied by Google, that could potentially turn the industry on its head,” said Mark Webbink, executive director of the Center for Patent Innovations at New York Law School, in an e-mail interview. “If Oracle succeeds, it could potentially invite numerous other copyright infringement suits in the software industry with nonproductive results.”

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Simon Phipps, an open-source advocate who did early work on Java at both IBM and Sun, made similar points in the trade publication InfoWorld.

“If Oracle wins, the decision could set a legal precedent that legitimizes controlling behaviors by platform vendors – and introduces a complex and unwelcome legalism into software development,” he wrote. “Complexity and confusion would return to a world where they have largely been expunged, bringing fear, uncertainty, and doubt back into open source software development.”