EDIT: this was migrated to: https://law.stackexchange.com/questions/10945/would-the-oracle-v-google-lawsuit-imply-that-any-api-can-be-re-implemented-inc

I understood that the lawsuit implies that APIs are not copyrightable.

Hardware CPU ISAs (e.g. x86 and ARM) are an API (?), and could have different implementations.

However, there are precedents where CPU developer companies have sued / "cease and desist"ed re-implementors, e.g. ARM v. Amber: http://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1287452

So would the lawsuit mean that ISAs can also be re-implemented?

Of course, I expect the answer to be no and that it is just my lack of understanding of the case. How is the Java API different from an ISA?

This video claims that companies managed to re-implement the "retractable pen" hardware "API" to avoid patent infringement: https://youtu.be/MhVw-MHGv4s?t=247 , how are ISAs different?

ReactOS is a project that comes to mind back to software land.

  • I think your understanding that "the lawsuit implies that APIs are not copyrightable" is incorrect. The (higher) appeals court found that API are eligible for copyright, and then, after that, the lower court (in a jury trial) found that Google's use of the Java API in Android happened to be permissible under Fair Use.
    – apsillers
    Jun 13, 2016 at 18:32
  • @apsillers Why is Java API ok for Fair Use but not ISAs? Jun 13, 2016 at 18:38
  • Fair use is always a case-by-case determiniation, specific to the facts of each particular case. In this case, the judge sent twelve people into a room with the question "Given the four fair use factors, does this case qualify as fair use?" and the people came back later and said "We decided that it does." (See law.stackexchange.com/q/9510/84 for this case in particular and also law.stackexchange.com/a/7684/84 for fair use in general)
    – apsillers
    Jun 13, 2016 at 18:46
  • @apsillers thanks for clarifying, I understand better. Consider saying that in an answer. Law is a messy thing... I think this does deprive Oracle from income which is one of the factors. Jun 13, 2016 at 21:23


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