European Court of Justice Rules on Copyright Status of Computer Programming Languages and Functionality

5 02 2013

In a jury room in San Francisco, jurors in Oracle, Inc. v. Google, Inc. have been toiling over complicated issues related to the copyrightability of the Java computer programming language, and they may well return a verdict before the ink is dry on this post. We’ll write more about that case, which the judge has dubbed “the World Series of technology litigation,” when the verdict is in. Meanwhile, the jury and the judge in Oracle v. Google have been lapped by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, which ruled on May 2 that, under the law of the European Union, the functionality of a computer program and computer programming language are not protected by copyright. Suffice to say for now that there are significant similarities between these two disputes. So much so, in fact, that on May 3, the judge in Oracle v. Google asked the parties to submit briefs addressing the EU Court of Justice ruling.


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