May 3, 2012- While the tech word awaits a court’s verdict in the Oracle patent infringement suit with Google, the European Union’s Court of Justice ruled on a similar style case.
The court said that neither the programming language nor the functionality of the computer program and the formatting of data files that are used in a computer program are sufficiently expressive to qualify to be covered by copyright protection.
The court said, “To allow that the functionality of a program can be protected by copyright would equate to monopolizing ideas, and cause detriment to industrial development and technological progress.”
Lawyers said the decision by the EU court was consistent with law in the U.S. on that particular matter, since courts in the U.S. have rejected cases for copyright infringement for duplicating the functionality of an existing program.
Oracle insists its sequence, structure and organization for Java APIs qualifies under the copyright protection. Google says Oracle is overreaching since it aims to control the ideas instead of the expression of an idea.
The claim by Oracle also covers Java code that is found in the Android platform that Google has subsequently removed. The recent decision in the EU is being considered a victory for the software industry since it reaffirms reverse engineering’s legality.