U.S. Supreme Court to hear Google bid to end Oracle copyright suit

Credit: REUTERS/Charles Platiau

By Andrew Chung

WASHINGTON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear Google's bid to escape Oracle Corp's ORCL.N multi-billion dollar lawsuit accusing Google GOOGL.O of infringing software copyrights to build the Android operating system that runs most of the world's smartphones.

Google has appealed a lower court ruling reviving the suit in which Oracle has sought at least $8 billion in damages. A jury cleared Google in 2016, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington overturned that decision in 2018, finding that Google's inclusion of Oracle's software code in Android did not constitute a fair use under U.S. copyright law.

The justices will hear arguments in the case during their current term, with a ruling due by the end of June.

Oracle and Google, two California-based technology giants with combined revenues of more than $175 billion, have been feuding since Oracle sued for copyright infringement in 2010 in San Francisco federal court. The Supreme Court in 2015 rebuffed a previous Google appeal in the case. The outcome of the suit could help shape the level of copyright protection for software.

Google, part of Alphabet Inc, said an Oracle victory would chill software innovation. The company was backed by Microsoft Corp MSFT.O and groups that defend the rights of internet users.

President Donald Trump's administration backed Oracle in the case, urging the justices in a written brief to turn away Google's appeal.

Oracle accused Google of copying thousands of lines of computer code from its popular Java programming language without a license in order to make Android, a competing platform that has harmed Oracle's business.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)

((andrew.chung@thomsonreuters.com; 646.223.8022; 646.407.9441 mobile;))

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