Friday, May 31, 2013

Oracle v. Google - EFF Amicus Brief - Java APIs not copyrightable

EFF attorneys Julie Samuels and Michael Barclay filed an amicus brief for certain prominent computer scientists. Although not a patent topic, it involves IP protection of Java APIs, which have functional aspects so deserves a quick pointer. The amicus brief supports Google's position that Oracle's Java APIs cannot be copyrightable for reasons of software development. The table of contents of the brief outlines some of the PC history as support for the position.

I expect Oracle faces an uphill battle in getting the Federal Circuit to reverse the district court's decision that the Java APIs are uncopyrightable. But some are quite sure this is wrong. See e.g., FOSS Patents EFF's amicus briefs in Oracle v. Google suggest non-copyrightability is only path to interoperability. Florian Mueller concludes "The right balance must be struck, and in my opinion Google and the EFF's positions are too far on the anti-IP side. That's why I can't support them, though I support the cause of interoperability (more consistently than they do)."

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