Trademark, Copyright and Trade Secrets Alert: Update: Google v. Oracle and Copyright Protections for Software
By Craig S. Horbus on June 28, 2019
The Supreme Court released its final opinions of the term on Thursday, June 27 without a decision on the closely watched Google v. Oracle dispute on whether copyright protections extend to software interface.
In late April, in preparation to either grant or deny Google’s pending petition for certiorari, the United States Supreme Court asked the Solicitor General’s Office to file a brief expressing its view in the case. There is no deadline for the brief, and the earliest the Supreme Court could act would be the next term in the fall if the brief is filed in time.
Brouse McDowell Partner Craig S. Horbus commented on the case to IP Watchdog in an article titled, “Google v. Oracle and the Battle to Protect Software Via Copyright,” published May 1, 2019. The article explains how the summation of Oracle’s decade-long copyright infringement lawsuit against Google will impact the software development industry.
If the Supreme Court grants certiorari, the Court will address whether the code Google copied from Oracle into Android is copyrightable and whether Google’s actions constitute fair use. If certiorari is denied, the appellate court’s ruling in favor of Oracle will stand and damages will be considered.
The article further explains legal copyright protections that exist for software developers and provides insight for copyright owners who wish to pursue infringement actions to protect their work. “If someone infringes on the creator’s work, it is up to the creator to take legal action,” said Horbus. “A creator is unable to file a lawsuit to protect their work unless the copyright is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Expedited registrations are costly, so waiting until an infringement occurs can be costly.”
Brouse McDowell is closely following this hotly debated case as well as many others that impact our clients on a daily basis.