Google settles Oracle API dispute for $0

By Stuart Sumner
21 Jun 2012 View Comments
New Oracle building with logo

Oracle has agreed to settle its legal dispute with Google over the latter's alleged use of proprietary Java code in its Android platform for a total of $0.

Legal news site Groklaw reported on events in the courtroom, stating that the judge asked the parties what they had agreed.

Further reading

"We are here to address what needs to be done to get a final judgment. What I handed out is what I think would be adequate. Larger picture: Statutory damages," said Judge Williamj Alsup.

A spokesperson for Oracle responded: "Statutory damages of $0 with the ability to pursue further."

The Judge then reportedly asked whether this figure was agreed by both parties, to which both responded "yes".

However, this is unlikely to be the last we'll hear from this case. Google is widely expected to go on to sue Oracle for its legal costs, which will be substantial.

For its part, many observers believe that Oracle has agreed to a zero cash settlement in this case in order to close it quickly, and move on to an appeal.

The enterprise software giant would not have expected to gain more than $150,000 (£96,000) in statutory damages, since only nine lines of code were found to be copied by Google during the trial.

Given that Oracle had originally been hoping for around $1bn (£640m) from the supposed copyright infringement, the strategy to close this trial and move on to the next appears to make some sort of sense.

The trial itself will be remembered for setting the precedent that APIs are non-copyrightable.


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