The only way it could be worse would be if they ruled that what Google did isn't fair use as a matter of law. If you read the decision, they almost did that, but didn't. I hope this is reheard en-banc or the Supreme Court takes the case. This is a nightmare.
I have very little respect for the Federal Circuit. They seem to cause many more problems than they solve. And, here, they took Ninth Circuit precedent and twisted it to say the opposite of what it meant. The Ninth Circuit gives interoperability concerns serious consideration; this decision gives them much less consideration than they deserve.
For Google's particular case, there looks to me to be an easy way out. All Google has to do is distribute its work under the GPL, since Java, including the APIs in question, is under the GPL anyway. The "Classpath exception" was Sun's explicit consent to use the APIs in Java without needing the work to be GPL as well. So, as long as Google distributes its work as a "modified version of OpenJDK", they should be good. I'm not sure why they haven't done this already, or didn't do it to begin with, actually. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I can't see what.
But this goes way beyond Android and Java. This ruling, if it's not overturned, could chill software development, promote extreme forms of vendor lock-in, and otherwise cause mayhem and misery.
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