Google shares closed lower in the US Tuesday, as a US court of appeal in Washington ruled against the tech giant in the case versus Oracle over Google’s use of it’s Java software. Oracle is seeking damages of almost $9 billion.
The appeal followed a 2016 decision that found Google hadn’t misused Oracle’s Java software during its creation of the Android system. The case was initially brought by Oracle in 2010.
Google shares sank 4.47% Tuesday to close at $1,006.94. The stock is also currently in the red in after-hours activity.
What did Google do wrong?
Oracle’s Java software is free to use and is often part of many developer’s new software and platforms.
However, Oracle argues that Google’s use of Java to create the Android system, which is now one of the most popular mobile platforms in the world was an infringement on copyright law. They say that Google went too far with its use of Java shortcuts as the basis for Android.
And, despite a previous judge saying that wasn’t the case and agreeing with Google that Java is a free-to-use software option, the judge in Washington ruled Google’s use of Java was “unfair as a matter of law”.
“The fact that Android is free of charge does not make Google’s use of the Java API packages non-commercial,” the Washington judging panel said.
Oracle is seeking $8.8 billion in damages and the potential costs that Google could eventually pay, will be decided by a judge in San Francisco.
Google hasn’t yet made a decision in its next course of action.
The case is a significant one for the tech world. And, if the decision is upheld and Google pays the damages that are set, it could change the software development world and potentially make it more expensive.
“We are disappointed the court reversed the jury finding that Java is open and free for everyone,” Google said in a statement. “This type of ruling will make apps and online services more expensive for users.”