Google might be known as an innovative company but they are actually really known for taking existing ideas and making them better. First recognized as a thorough and powerful search engine they were not the first, necessarily, to build a search engine. However, they figured out how to make the process better—and how to profit from it as well. Google was not the first to make a mobile operating system, but they did figure out a way to make them more attractive and, again, profitable.
But while Google might have a knack for building off of existing ideas, nobody has ever claimed the technology company has infringed on copyrights.
Until now, that is.
Damage experts hired by Oracle report that Google should pay $9.3 billion in damages based on the claim that the company used Java programming in Android systems. Now, Google does not necessarily deny any of this but they also deny any wrongdoing. They are already scheduled to duke it out in a San Francisco, CA federal district court, in May, to settle a very long-running dispute over whether or not Google’s copying of 37 Java application programming interfaces to build Android coding qualifies as “fair use.”
Of course, Android is now the most broadly-used mobile operating system on the planet.
In June of last year, the Supreme Court denied an earlier appeal, by Google, of an Appeals Court decision which had overturned a previous ruling that APIs are not directly covered by copyright laws.
However, even though Oracle had sought damages of $1 billion before, a new court submission indicates the company now seeks nearly 10 times more. Putting this into perspective, Google’s parent company—Alphabet—made $4.9 billion in profit in just the last quarter alone.
As you might expect, Google has hired its own damages expert whose task will now be to conclude a far lower damages estimate. While no damages reports have been released to the public yet, early speculation puts Google’s estimation closer to only $100 million.
Oracle’s damages expert, James Malackowski, says that the $9.3 billion breaks down into $475 million in damages and $8.8 billion in shared profit.