Google has asked the US Supreme Court to resolve a long-running dispute against database maker Oracle about whether computer code can be protected by copyright.
The California-based search engine is seeking to overturn an earlier decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that ruled against it.
The dispute, which started in 2012, surrounds Oracle’s Java computer programming language.
Originally developed by a company called Sun Microsystems, Oracle has held the licence for Java since 2010 following a $7.4 billion takeover of the company.
In 2012, Oracle brought a lawsuit against Google for a series of alleged copyright and patent infringements.
However, the lawsuit yielded no verdict on whether computer code, known as application programming interfaces (APIs), could be protected by copyright.
Oracle claimed that Google infringed 37 of its APIs, but Google said it was necessary for it to use some of the code in order to run pre-Android Java code.
The Federal Circuit rejected Google’s defence, ruling that APIs should be subject to copyright protection.
In its Supreme Court filing, submitted on Monday (October 6), Google said it would never have been able to innovate if the Federal Circuit’s reasoning had been in place when the company was formed.
"Early computer companies could have blocked vast amounts of technological development by claiming 95-year copyright monopolies over the basic building blocks of computer design and programming," Google wrote.
Google and Oracle did not respond immediately to a request for comment.