Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Federal Circuit schedules Oracle v. Google appellate hearing for December 4, 2013

In six weeks from today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear Oracle's Android/Java copyright appeal against a ruling by Judge Alsup in the Northern District of California, who sided with Google on a copyrightability question that was outcome-determinative for the most important part of the case: he deemed the "hijacked" declaring code of the Java APIs not to be copyrightable.

This morning by Eastern Time the world's leading appeals court for intellectual property matters issued the following notice of calendaring (click on the image to enlarge or read the text below the image):

NOTICE OF CALENDARING. Panel: 1312H. Case scheduled Dec 04, 2013 10:00 a.m. at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Howard T. Markey National Courts Building, 717 Madison Place, N.W. Washington, DC 20439), Courtroom 402. Response to oral argument order due: 11/15/2013. Counsel should check-in 30 minutes prior to the opening of the session. Please review the Oral Argument Order. [112135] [13-1021, 13-3067, 13-5041, 13-1204]

Oracle has several high-profile copyright lawyers on its team, and its lead counsel will be Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe's Joshua Rosenkranz, a leading appellate lawyer who recently won an important Federal Circuit appeal for Apple (reviving its ITC case against Google's Motorola Mobility) and is on the winning track in another Apple v. Google matter before the same court, likely leading to a once-denied Chicago trial over the Steve Jobs patent and other key Apple patents. On December 4 the "Defibrillator" will be at work again in Washington DC.

As for the arguments raised on appeal, let me refer you to a few of my previous posts. I'll definitely write some more about this in the build-up to the appellate hearing. For now I just wanted to share the scheduling information with you immediately.

The key issues in this case (mostly copyrightability, but also "fair use") are of great interest and concern not only to these parties but also to many other stakeholders. Either party has support from academics, but Oracle's positions are shared to a hugely greater extent than Google's by industry leaders and creatives. A former U.S. copright chief also agrees with Oracle that the lower court's ruling is a fundamental threat to intellectual property protection (he said it "eviscerates" copyright protection for software), and urged reversal.

I look forward to December 4, and I'll analyze the official recording as soon as it becomes available.

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