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In support of interoperability

August 7th, 2020

Open software interfaces have been an integral part of the innovation economy. They enable the interoperability that has always let software developers build on each other’s work. And the interoperability of open software interfaces is what lets different technologies like apps work together on a variety of devices and platforms: That’s why you can take a photo on an Apple phone, save it onto Google’s cloud servers, and edit it on a Surface tablet. Our legal case with Oracle turns on our belief that interoperability has been good for innovation, good for developers, and good for consumers.

The Supreme Court has heard from 250 leading computer scientists, businesses, and software developers who share this conviction. The Court also recently asked for additional information about how courts should respect a jury’s decision that a given use (like the reuse of software interfaces) constitutes allowable fair use.

Today, we filed a supplemental brief explaining how the jury in our case heard from over a dozen witnesses, reviewed hundreds of documents, and then unanimously agreed with our position. America’s Constitution enshrines the right to a jury trial. The Supreme Court has recognized the important role of a jury in deciding nuanced, fact-specific questions like the ones in this case.

A decision in Oracle’s favor would limit consumers’ freedom to use technologies on a range of devices. It would upend the way developers have always used software interfaces, locking them into existing platforms and giving copyright owners new power to control the building blocks of new technologies. And it would erode the traditional role of the jury in evaluating all the facts relevant to a decision.

We look forward to making this case to the Court on October 7.