The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided on Wednesday as it considered whether to protect Alphabet Inc's Google from a long-running lawsuit by Oracle Corp accusing it of infringing Oracle copyrights to build the Android operating system that runs most of the world's smartphones.
The shorthanded court, down one justice following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month, heard oral arguments in Google's appeal of a lower court ruling reviving the lawsuit in which Oracle has sought at least $8 billion in damages.
Some of the eight justices expressed concern that Google simply copied Oracle's software code instead of innovating and creating its own for mobile devices. Others emphasized that siding with Oracle could give software developers too much power with potentially harmful effects on the technology industry.
A jury cleared Google in 2016, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned that decision in 2018, finding that Google's inclusion of Oracle's software code in Android was not permissible under U.S. copyright law.
Oracle accused Google of copying thousands of lines of computer code from its popular Java programming language without a license in order to make Android, a competing platform that has harmed Oracle's business.
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