Google has won a significant legal battle against Oracle over the use of Java APIs in Android, with a jury in California's Northern District federal court ruling that the use of these APIs by Google falls under "fair use".
Oracle had been seeking $9 billion in damages for Google's use of their copyrighted code, but the declaration that it constitutes "fair use" means that no damages will be paid. This is a big blow to Oracle, which spent millions on this legal fight in an attempt to make money from Google's extremely successful mobile platform.
The legal battle, which began in 2010, centered around Google's re-implementation of 37 Java APIs owned and copyrighted by Oracle. The initial suit claimed that Google directly copied these copyrighted APIs into Android, however Google maintained that the Java language is "free and open" to use.
In 2012, a judge ruled that APIs cannot be copyrighted, however this decision was overturned in 2014 when a federal appeals court ruled that Oracle had a valid copyright claim over the APIs in question. In the most recent trial, Google argued that the re-implementation of these APIs in Android constituted "fair use", which the jury agreed with.
Naturally Oracle is not pleased with this result, as it essentially allows Google to continue using the APIs for free without conflicting with Oracle's copyright. The company has already vowed to appeal the verdict to the Federal Circuit, with Oracle's general counsel Dorian Daley stating that they "strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology."
No doubt this appeal will continue the fight between Oracle and Google for more several more years, although Google should be very happy with this initial result.