With the first phase of the blockbuster Oracle/Google case nearly headed to the jury, Google last night asked the court for a judgment that would invalidate at least a portion of the copyrights Oracle claims over Java APIs.
Google’s motion asks for a “judgment as a matter of law that the names and declarations from the 37 API (application programming interface) packages that appear in the Android source code are not copyrightable.” Google criticized “Oracle claims that Google’s implementing source code is a derivative work of Oracle’s English-language descriptions because Google’s source code does the things that the English descriptions describe.”
Google argued that the source code and object code for implementing Oracle’s APIs are not derivative works of the copyrighted work as a whole. Further, Google said the alleged copying of Java code is “de minimus,” or insignificant, and “thus non-actionable.”
Groklaw has posted a copy of Google’s brief, as well as Oracle’s response filed this morning. Oracle asked Judge William Alsup to provide instructions to the jury that would benefit Oracle’s case even if it is found that Google’s alleged copying was not extensive in terms of sheer length.
Oracle argued that the 37 API packages “comprise the works as a whole for purposes of comparison to the infringing product,” contrary to Google’s interpretation that the entire Java platform is the work as a whole under the terms of Oracle’s copyright.
“Regardless of how the Court ultimately defines the ‘work as a whole,’ in determining whether Google’s use of the 37 Java API packages constitutes ‘fair use,’ the jury must consider the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole,” Oracle wrote. Thus, in addition to instructing the jury about the appropriate scope of the ‘work as a whole,’ the Court should also instruct the jury that in determining whether or not the portion used was substantial (the quantitative analysis), the jury should conduct a qualitative analysis. Whether or not a use of the work is quantitatively substantial, it may nonetheless be qualitatively substantial if the infringer takes the parts of the work that are among the best or most important, as Google admits it has done here.”
A decision on this particular matter could come soon. Closing arguments in the copyright portion of this case are expected Monday. Once copyright issues are decided by the jury, the sides will argue over Oracle’s claim that Android violates Java patents.