Endgame: Google v. Oracle

Endgame: Google v. Oracle
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File
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After nearly a decade of working through lower courts, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is set to decide the Google v. Oracle America (Oracle v. Google in the lower courts) case. With its ruling, SCOTUS will establish a copyright precedent that will impact much more than the tech ecosystem.

The tech and software sectors are especially interested in how SCOTUS will come down on the case. The court must decide “whether application programming interfaces (API) can be copyrighted. Oracle claims they can be … and that Google infringed on them by using them in the Android OS.”

However, for those who are concerned about medical progress, a decision that threatens Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) – i.e., copyright – will be devasting to the future of digital-health, including telehealth and new technologies critical to fight Coronavirus-type pandemics.

The principle of intellectual property has always been flexible in Silicon Valley. Such flexibility might be good for corporate entities with endless resources, like Google, who can litigate and re-litigate until it no longer sees the utility in litigating and re-litigating. Innovators in health care do not have this luxury. Without firm rules and laws around IPR, medical progress is impossible. Period. And, moving forward many of the new innovations in health will be based on codes and programming, not just pills and therapies.

How SCOTUS rules on this case, will be critical to billions of dollars of software business … of course, we all know this to be true. What is less understood is how SCOTUS rules in Google v. Oracle will also impact how we fight the next global pandemic.

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