Press Release

Public Knowledge Files Amicus Brief in Google v. Oracle

February 25, 2019 , , ,

Today, Public Knowledge, along with R Street Institute, filed an amicus curiae brief in Google v. Oracle before the United States Supreme Court.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has issued several previous rulings in the ongoing Google v. Oracle litigation, which involves the Java programming language’s application programming interface (“API”). First, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned the district court and ruled that Oracle could assert a copyright over this API.

At trial, a jury determined that Google’s use of Oracle’s API was fair use. Oracle asked the trial judge to overturn that jury decision, arguing that no reasonable jury could have come to that conclusion under the evidence presented. The trial judge denied Oracle’s motion. Oracle appealed to the Federal Circuit, which threw out the jury verdict and substituted its own analysis. Google filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. Public Knowledge disagrees with the Federal Circuit’s rulings and encourages the Supreme Court to hear the appeal.

The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“It’s no overstatement to say that APIs underlie almost every facet of networked technology. Everything from smart cities to health care to basic web functionality relies on APIs to be able to communicate with one another. The Federal Circuit’s decision in this case throws a huge swath of modern innovation into question, and has the potential to cripple development of ‘smart’ civic services. We support the petitioner’s request for certiorari, and hope the Supreme Court will review and reverse the Federal Circuit’s decision.”

You may view the brief here.