Have We Seen the Limits of Fair Use?

Samuel Lewis, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Intellectual Property department, wrote in the Daily Business Review about how Google and Oracle are now destined for yet another trial arising from Google’s alleged unauthorized use of 37 of Oracle’s Java application programming interfaces (APIs) in the Android smartphone operating system. Finding that Google’s use of Java APIs did not constitute fair use as a matter of law, on March 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the trial court’s judgment in favor of Google and remanded for a trial on damages. While the decision ensures that the ongoing saga between Google and Oracle will no doubt continue to fascinate software developers who have been following the case with great interest, one of the most fascinating aspects of the case from an intellectual property law standpoint is that the case may come to represent a shift in the way that courts approach copyright fair use cases.

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Samuel A. Lewis

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