750 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2014), 2013-1021, Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc.

Docket Nº:2013-1021, 2013-1022
Citation:750 F.3d 1339, 110 U.S.P.Q.2d 1985
Opinion Judge:O'Malley, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:ORACLE AMERICA, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. GOOGLE INC., Defendant-Cross-Appellant
Attorney:E. JOSHUA ROSENKRANZ, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, of New York, New York, argued for plaintiff-appellant. With him on the brief were MARK S. DAVIES, ANDREW D. SILVERMAN, KELLY M. DALEY; and ANNETTE L. HURST, GABRIEL M. RAMSEY, and ELIZABETH C. MCBRIDE, of San Francisco, California. Of coun...
Judge Panel:Before O'MALLEY, PLAGER, and TARANTO, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:May 09, 2014
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

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750 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2014)

110 U.S.P.Q.2d 1985

ORACLE AMERICA, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

GOOGLE INC., Defendant-Cross-Appellant

Nos. 2013-1021, 2013-1022

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

May 9, 2014

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Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in No. 10-CV-3561, Judge William H. Alsup.

E. JOSHUA ROSENKRANZ, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, of New York, New York, argued for plaintiff-appellant. With him on the brief were MARK S. DAVIES, ANDREW D. SILVERMAN, KELLY M. DALEY; and ANNETTE L. HURST, GABRIEL M. RAMSEY, and ELIZABETH C. MCBRIDE, of San Francisco, California. Of counsel on the brief were DORIAN E. DALEY, DEBORAH K. MILLER, MATTHEW SARBORARIA, and ANDREW C. TEMKIN, Oracle America, Inc., of Redwood Shores, California; and DALE M. CENDALI, DIANA M. TORRES, SEAN B. FERNANDES, and JOSHUA L. SIMMONS, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, of New York, New York. Of counsel were SUSAN M. DAVIES, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, of New York, New York; MICHAEL A. JACOBS, Morrison & Foerster LLP, of San Francisco, California; and KENNETH A. KUWAYTI, of Palo Alto, California.

ROBERT A. VAN NEST, Keker & Van Nest LLP, of San Francisco, California, argued for defendant-cross-appellant. With him on the brief were CHRISTA M. ANDERSON, STEVEN A. HIRSCH, MICHAEL S. KWUN, and DANIEL E. JACKSON. Of counsel on the brief were IAN C. BALLON and HEATHER MEEKER, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, of East Palo Alto, California; RENNY HWANG, Google Inc., of Mountain View, California; and DARYL L. JOSEFFER and BRUCE W. BABER, King & Spalding LLP, of Washington, DC.

MARCIA B. PAUL, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, of New York, New York, for amicus curiae Ralph Oman. With her on the brief were LACY H. KOONCE, III and DEBORAH A. ADLER.

WILLIAM A. RUDY, Lathrop & Gage LLP, of Kansas City, Missouri, for amici curiae Picture Archive Council of America, Inc., et al. With him on the brief were CAROLE E. HANDLER and BRIANNA E. DAHLBERG, of Los Angeles, California.

GREGORY G. GARRE, Latham & Watkins, LLP, of Washington, DC, for amici curiae Microsoft Corporation, et al. With him on the brief was LORI ALVINO MCGILL. Of counsel on the brief were PAUL T. DACIER, KRISHNENDU GUPTA, EMC Corporation, of Hopkinton, Massachusetts; and DOUGLAS LUFTMAN, NETAPP, Inc., of Sunnyvale, California.

JARED BOBROW, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, of Redwood Shores, California, for amici curiae Eugene H. Spafford, Ph.D., et al. With him on the brief was AARON Y. HUANG.

MATTHEW S. HELLMAN, Jenner & Block LLP, of Washington, DC, for amicus curiae BSA/The Software Alliance. With him on the brief was PAUL M. SMITH.

STEVEN T. COTTREAU, Clifford Chance U.S. LLP, of Washington, DC, for amici curiae, Scott McNealy, et al.

MEREDITH JACOB, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University, Washington College of Law, of Washington, DC, for amici curiae Intellectual Property Law Professors.

JULIE P. SAMUELS, Electronic Frontier Foundation, of San Francisco, California, for amici curiae Computer Scientists. With her on the brief was MICHAEL BARCLAY. Of counsel on the brief was JASON M. SCHULTZ, NYU Technology Law and Policy Clinic, NYU School of Law, of New York, New York.

JONATHAN BAND, Jonathan Band PLLC, of Washington, DC, filed a brief for amicus curiae Computer & Communications Industry Association. With him on the brief was MATTHEW SCHRUERS, Computer & Communications Industry Association, of Washington, DC.

CHAD RUBACK, The Ruback Law Firm, of Dallas, Texas, filed a brief for amici curiae Rackspace US, Inc., et al.

JENNIFER M. URBAN, Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, of Berkeley, California for amici curiae Software Innovators, et al.

Before O'MALLEY, PLAGER, and TARANTO, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

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O'Malley, Circuit Judge.

This copyright dispute involves 37 packages of computer source code. The parties have often referred to these groups of computer programs, individually or collectively, as " application programming interfaces," or API packages, but it is their content, not their name, that matters. The predecessor of Oracle America, Inc. (" Oracle" ) wrote these and other API packages in the Java programming language, and Oracle licenses them on various terms for others to use. Many software developers use the Java language, as well as Oracle's API packages, to write applications (commonly referred to as " apps" ) for desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices.

Oracle filed suit against Google Inc. (" Google" ) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Google's Android mobile operating system infringed Oracle's patents and copyrights. The jury found no patent infringement, and the patent claims are not at issue in this appeal. As to the copyright claims, the parties agreed that the jury would decide infringement, fair use, and whether any copying was de minimis, while the district judge would decide copyrightability and Google's equitable defenses. The jury found that Google infringed Oracle's copyrights in the 37 Java packages and a specific computer routine called " rangeCheck," but returned a noninfringement verdict as to eight decompiled security files. The jury deadlocked on Google's fair use defense.

After the jury verdict, the district court denied Oracle's motion for judgment as a matter of law (" JMOL" ) regarding fair use as well as Google's motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck files. Order on Motions for Judgment as a Matter of Law, Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. May 10, 2012), ECF No. 1119. Oracle also moved for JMOL of infringement with respect to the eight decompiled security files. In granting that motion, the court found that: (1) Google admitted to copying the eight files; and (2) no reasonable jury could find that the copying was de minimis. Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. C 10-3561,

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(N.D. Cal. May 11, 2012) (" Order Granting JMOL on Decompiled Files " ).

Shortly thereafter, the district court issued its decision on copyrightability, finding that the replicated elements of the 37 API packages--including the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization--were not subject to copyright protection. Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., 872 F.Supp.2d 974 (N.D. Cal. 2012) (" Copyrightability Decision " ). Accordingly, the district court entered final judgment in favor of Google on Oracle's copyright infringement claims, except with respect to the rangeCheck code and the eight decompiled files. Final Judgment, Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-3561 (N.D. Cal. June 20, 2012), ECF No. 1211. Oracle appeals from the portion of the final judgment entered against it, and Google cross-appeals from the portion of that same judgment entered in favor of Oracle as to the rangeCheck code and eight decompiled files.

Because we conclude that the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages are entitled to copyright protection, we reverse the district court's copyrightability determination with instructions to reinstate the jury's infringement finding as to the 37 Java packages. Because the jury deadlocked on fair use, we remand for further consideration of Google's fair use defense in light of this decision. With respect to Google's cross-appeal, we affirm the district court's decisions: (1) granting Oracle's motion for JMOL as to the eight decompiled Java files that Google copied into Android; and (2) denying Google's motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck function. Accordingly, we affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand for further proceedings.

Background

A. The Technology

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (" Sun" ) developed the Java " platform" for computer programming and released it in 1996.1 The aim was to relieve programmers from the burden of writing different versions of their computer programs for different operating systems or devices. " The Java platform, through the use of a virtual machine, enable[d] software developers to write programs that [we]re able to run on different types of computer hardware without having to rewrite them for each different type." Copyrightability Decision, 872 F.Supp.2d at 977. With Java, a software programmer could " write once, run anywhere."

The Java virtual machine (" JVM" ) plays a central role in the overall Java platform. The Java programming language itself--which includes words, symbols, and other units, together with syntax rules for using them to create instructions--is the language in which a Java programmer writes source code, the version of a program that is " in a human-readable language." Id. For the instructions to be executed, they must be converted (or compiled) into binary machine code (object code) consisting of 0s and 1s understandable by the particular computing device. In the Java system, " source code is first converted into 'bytecode,' an intermediate form, before it is then converted into binary machine code by the Java virtual machine" that has been designed for that device. Id. The Java platform includes the " Java development kit (JDK), javac compiler, tools and utilities, runtime programs, class libraries (API packages), and the Java virtual machine." Id. at 977 n.2.

Sun wrote a number of ready-to-use Java programs to perform common computer

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functions and organized those programs into groups it called " packages." These packages, which are the application programming interfaces at issue in this appeal, allow programmers to use the prewritten...

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