The Never Ending Oracle v Google Case

Oracle and Google have been on each other’s necks for almost eight years now. A legal battle ensued in 2010 which has seen both Oracle and Google exchange victory and loss as the matter has bounced up and down through appeals and two whole jury trials, the latest being a victory for Oracle before the US Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit.

The matter goes for its third trial before the California District Court, for the determination of damages due to Oracle following the Federal Circuit’s finding that Google’s use of Oracle’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) did not amount to fair use under the US Copyright Act.

Oracle first sued Google in 2010 after it purchased Sun Microsystems which initially owned the Java APIs. Oracle’s argument was that Google’s Android OS based on customised Java APIs amounted to copyright infringement.

Read: Federal Circuit sends Oracle v. Google back for third trial

The case went to full trial in 2012 with Oracle losing following the determination of the California Northern District Court (Judge William Alsup) that APIs are not subject to copyright. The ruling, an important news item to entrepreneurs and software developers, favoured innovation and interoperability allowing software to use APIs without paying a licence fee.

Oracle being displeased with Judge Alsup’s decision appealed to the Federal Court. In 2014, the Federal Court found in favour of Oracle holding that APIs are copyrightable but without answering the question of fair use.

Google unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit’s decision. The Supreme Court’s dismissal of Google’s Petition in June 2015 allowed for the matter to go back to the trial court for determination of the fair use defence.

The jury in the second trial court unanimously agreed in May 2016 that Google’s use of the Java APIs without licence amounted to fair use. Oracle then appealed to the Federal Circuit for the second time.

It is this second appeal that the Federal Court pronounced itself on 27 March 2018 holding in favour of Oracle. That Google’s use of Oracle’s Java APIs without licence did not amount to fair use but a copyright infringement and has thus sent it to the trial court – California District Court – for the determination of damages.

In the meantime, Google has the option of petitioning the Supreme Court for a second time for the review of the Federal Court’s determination. Should Google exercise this option, then the District Court will have to await the Supreme Court’s determination.

Read: The Case That Never Ends: Oracle Wins Latest Round vs. Google

However, Google’s failure to petition the Supreme Court will be then it would have been established that APIs enjoy copyright protection and that Google infringed upon Oracle’s copyright when it customised the Java APIs without a licence.

It will be interesting to see how this matter unfolds and how it will affect the now awakening Kenyan Market.

At KT Law Associates, we care about your Intellectual Property and are glad to see that you are not only rewarded for your intellectual effort but also get quite enjoyment of those rights enhanced through the relevant legal protection.

Our legal representation, advisory and consultancy services covers the different regimes of Intellectual Property including among others, Trademarks, Copyright, Utility Models and Designs and Patents. For legal assistance, or more information on how what we have on offer, kindly contact us.


This information is meant for general consumption and informational purposes. It does not and is not meant to form any legal advice. Reliance on the information as legal advice shall be at your own risk and we shall not be liable to any loss, damage or injury, suffered directly or indirectly as a result of any such misinformed reliance.

Should you however desire to receive legal assistance from us, kindly contact us to initiate the process. PLEASE NOTE HOWEVER that contacting us does not in itself create a relationship between us and you.

Brian Tororei speaks on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Law

Brian Tororei, our Technology Media and Telecommunications lead partner, participated in a panel discussion on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Law at Mettā Nairobi on 20 March 2018.

Brian Tororei speaking on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Law at Mettā Nairobi on 20 March 2018

The discussion covered the basic definition of and distinction between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), reviewing their unique elements. It also focused on the ethical and legal issues around the deployment of artificial intelligence.

The Uber driverless car accident that occurred in Arizona US, also featured in the discussion on ethical questions touching on autonomous vehicles and whom to attach liability on in the event of an accident.

Read on the accident here.

The audience was also concerned about the claims that AI is taking over jobs. The panellists were of the opinion that while such trends were becoming a reality within the developed states and countries, it might be a while before Kenyans have a firsthand experience on the negative effects of AI in the job market.

It was also noted that jobs are likely to be created as people will be forced to engage their creativity and that there was no need to worry, especially with technical and specialised jobs that need people skills such as being empathic among others.

Appreciating that AI and ML rely heavily on the availability of data sets for the learning and training of machines, Tororei lamented on the fact that there is presently no specialised legal regime for Data Protection and Privacy in Kenya.

Brian noted that for AI and ML to be a reality in Kenya, we would need robust infrastructure including the establishment of data centres, deployment of broadband to increase internet penetration and the availability of reliable and sufficient electricity, among others, and a robust legal regime governing data protection and privacy, which would guide, inter alia, the collection, collation, analysis, storage and sharing of data.

Brian is keen on seeing the deployment of AI and ML in the delivery of legal services in Kenya and is benchmarking with international law firms. He looks forward to the time when AI and ML will become a reality and hopes to hold a conversation with a computer with natural language processing ability and computer vision among others.

On the regulation of AI and ML, the general mood of the panellists and the audience was that regulation was a Must have. While agreeing with the general mood, Tororei was keen to point out that beneficial regulation would be one from an informed point of view rather than a lazy and dismissive approach such as the one regarding Bitcoin and relate cryptocurrencies.

Brian hopes that the legislators and practising advocates would develop interest in cutting edge technologies such AI, ML and Blockchain Technology, among others, and dive into the technical aspects so as to properly inform their regulation with a forward looking approach rather than a knee-jerk reaction. That, Now

is the time to develop the interest and act on it.

At KT Law Associates, we care about your privacy and your data protection. We offer legal representation and consultancy services on how best you can safeguard the integrity of your data within your capacity. For legal assistance, kindly contact us.

KT Law Associates at 1st Kenya – Poland E-Health Summit

KT Law Associates’ Technology, Media and Telecommunications Team attended the first (1st) Kenya – Poland E-Health Summit held on 20th March 2018 at Windsor Country and Golf Club and organised by:

E-Health is presently Kenya’s top priority with the support and political goodwill of the President couple with a positive policy and legal framework. The existing business environment is very friendly to the deployment and development of various e-health initiatives, including, inter alia, telemedicine, electronic medical records, and hospital information systems.

The challenges in the operationalisation and implementation of already existing policies and available technologies, a common denominator in many other countries in the world, brings Poland and Kenya together presenting and interesting partnership for the sharing of regulatory experiences as well the establishment of viable business links and mutual scientific corporation.

To this end, the day’s sessions covered an array of topics including, among others, e-health regulations and strategy, regional platforms, e-prescription, e-referral and central medical data systems, Cloud computing in healthcare, ICT in the Polish Hospitals in digital transformation, the European Perspective: GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation) on Data Privacy and Business opportunities in ICT in healthcare in Kenya.

The Title Sponsors were: Microsoft,

and Asseco Poland

Through the sessions, there was a general consensus and belief that there is very fertile ground for collaboration in the implementation of their innovative e-health solutions not only between Polish and Kenyan entrepreneurs but also amongst entrepreneurs in Kenya and the county government.

Huge potential for the utilisation of polish technologies and experience in many e-health initiatives in Kenya were identified which are likely to lead to the establishment of valuable links between Kenya and Poland that would lead to many successful common ventures.

Data protection and privacy concerns were very alive especially in considering that Kenya lacks robust data protection and privacy laws.

KT Law Associates cares about your privacy and the integrity of your data. We offer legal and consultancy services on specialist areas including data protection and privacy. Kindly contact us for legal assistance.

Trump’s campaign data mining firm suspended by Facebook

Facebook published a blog post on 16 March 2018 confirming that it had suspended Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group, which are allegedly linked to President Trump, from Facebook.

Cambridge Analytica is alleged to have compromised data from the profiles of approximately 270,000 Americans through a third party application, called “thisisyourdigitallife,” which offered a personality prediction, and billed itself on Facebook as “a research app used by psychologists.”

Once Facebook users downloaded the app effectively granting consent to the developer to access information such as the city they set on their profile, or content they had liked, as well as more limited information about friends who had their privacy settings set to allow it, it is alleged that the developer then, against Facebook’s policies passed that information to third parties, including SCL/Cambridge Analytica, a firm that does political, government and military work around the globe.

Read more

Related story: How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions

At KT Law Associates, we care about your privacy and your data protection. We offer legal representation and consultancy services on how best you can safeguard the integrity of your data within your capacity. For legal assistance, kindly contact us