Justice Stephen Breyer, in his written opinion, said that “to allow enforcement of Oracle’s copyright here would risk harm to the public”.
So many programmers used and had deep knowledge of Oracle’s building blocks that such a move would turn computer code into “a lock limiting the future creativity of new programs”.
“Oracle alone would hold the key,” he warned.
Oracle made clear that it firmly disagreed with the court’s judgement, saying that it had increased Google’s power further and damaged other companies’ ability to compete.
“They stole Java and spent a decade litigating as only a monopolist can,” said Dorian Daley, the company’s general counsel, in a statement.
The reason I am linking to the BBC’s reporting on this verdict is that, if you scroll to the bottom of its article, you’ll see previous coverage going back to 2010. For much of that battle, Oracle has tried to play the role of the little company burdened by Google’s thievery. In the last eleven years, though, Oracle has become six times as valuable and is now worth over $200 billion — it seems pretty clear that Oracle can also afford to litigate for a decade in the hopes that it can have a monopoly on Java’s APIs and set a worrisome precedent for all software.