Interfaces and Interoperability After Google v. Oracle

55 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2021 Last revised: 31 Mar 2022

See all articles by Mark A. Lemley

Mark A. Lemley

Stanford Law School

Pamela Samuelson

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: August 2, 2021

Abstract

We address an important issue the Supreme Court left unaddressed this spring in its blockbuster Google v. Oracle decision: are computer interfaces copyrightable at all? We argue that they aren’t, and that the Federal Circuit's decision to the contrary is an aberration that should not undermine a quarter century of consensus on the importance of interoperability and open APIs. In our view, denying copyright protection for APIs and encouraging interoperability is important not only for innovation in the software world but for restoring competition to a technology industry dominated by a few incumbent firms.

Keywords: copyright, software, APIs, interoperability, antitrust

Suggested Citation

Lemley, Mark A. and Samuelson, Pamela, Interfaces and Interoperability After Google v. Oracle (August 2, 2021). Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 562, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3898154 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3898154

Mark A. Lemley (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Pamela Samuelson

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

Boalt Hall
341 North Addition
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
(510) 642-6775 (Phone)
(510) 643-2673 (Fax)

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