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Google Beats Oracle on $9 Billion Copyright Claim

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Google won a jury verdict that kills Oracle Corp.’s claim to a $9 billion slice of the search giant’s Android phone business.

Oracle contended that Google needed a license to use its Java programming language to develop Android, the operating system in 80 percent of the world’s mobile devices. Jurors in San Francisco federal court on Thursday rejected that argument and concluded Google made fair use of the code under copyright law.

A decision against Google had the potential to give significantly more weight to software copyrights, and to spur litigation to protect those added rights. Oracle — which started the trial at an advantage with the judge explaining that it had already been established that Google had infringed Oracle’s copyrights — plans to appeal, though legal experts said overturning a jury verdict will be difficult.

Google relied on witnesses including former Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt, who is now chairman of parent company Alphabet Inc., to convince jurors that it used Java to innovate, rather than merely copy code. Before joining Google, Schmidt worked at Sun Microsystems developing and marketing Java. Oracle acquired Sun in 2010 and Schmidt was involved in Google’s failed licensing negotiations that spurred the copyright-infringement lawsuit filed that year by the database maker.

Schmidt told jurors that, based on his “many years of experience” with Java, he believed Google was permitted to use the APIs — the shortcuts that allow developers to write programs to work across software platforms — without a negotiated license, as long as the company relied on its own code. Sun promoted them as “free and open,” and not sold or licensed separately from Java, he said.

Central to Oracle’s bid for what would have been one of the largest jury verdicts in U.S. history was its claim that Google has reaped $21 billion in profit from more than 3 billion activations of Android. Oracle sought damages of $8.8 billion, plus $475 million in what it claims was lost licensing revenue.

Appeal Grounds

“We strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market,” Oracle General Counsel Dorian Daley said in a statement. “Oracle brought this lawsuit to put a stop to Google’s illegal behavior. We believe there are numerous grounds for appeal.”

Google relied on a “free-market” argument, said Tyler Ochoa, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law who has followed the case closely since it was filed in 2010.

Google claimed it was within its rights to use the organization and labeling of the Java code to develop Android because programmers were already familiar with them, Ochoa said. Google’s message was that “Oracle shouldn’t ‘own’ programmers simply because they had taken the time to learn Java,” Ochoa said.

Ochoa was one of 41 academics who agreed with Google that the code at issue didn’t merit copyright protection and urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. The high court last year declined to take it.

Android Ecosystem

“Today’s verdict that Android makes fair use of Java APIs represents a win for the Android ecosystem, for the Java programming community, and for software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products,” Google said in an e-mailed statement.

Oracle won a 2012 verdict that Google infringed its copyrights, but that jury couldn’t agree whether it was justified under the fair use legal doctrine. That set the stage for the second trial, featuring many of the witnesses from four years ago as well as the same judge, William Alsup.

Both sides leaned on powerful Silicon Valley personalities to put a shine on technology-laden arguments.

Ten Commandments

Oracle Co-Chief Executive Officer Safra Catz invoked the Ten Commandments to characterize Google as acting above the law. Catz told jurors that, at a bat mitzvah in 2012, Google General Counsel Kent Walker told her, “You know, Safra, Google is this really special company, and the old rules don’t apply to us.”

“I immediately said, ‘Thou shalt not steal,’” Catz testified. “It’s an oldie but goodie.”

Witnesses for Google said the company didn’t need a license for the Java’s application programming interfaces, or APIs, to build Android.

In cross-examinations of those witnesses, Oracle’s lawyers hit upon a disconnect between their testimony and selected e-mails while Android was being created. The messages showed Google executives and engineers were concerned that they needed, and didn’t get, a license for Java.

‘Making Enemies’

Google co-founder Larry Page was confronted with a 2005 internal e-mail posing the question of whether to drop the use of Java for Android or press ahead, “perhaps making enemies along the way.”

Page responded, “Obviously we didn’t do the first one.”

Michael Risch, a law professor at Villanova University School of Law in Pennsylvania who’s been following the case, said it will be difficult for Oracle to overturn the jury verdict because an appeals court will have to conclude the instructions to jurors on the legal issues in the case were flawed.

Before the verdict, Risch said the outcome was a “toss-up” and that it may not have been well-suited for a jury to decide.

“There should be a clear set of guidelines that allow companies to know when they may reuse functional aspects of another company’s copyrighted work, and submitting a fair use question to a jury fails in all respects,” Risch said.

The case is Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-cv-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil: Nigerian Government Set to Reopen 180,000bpd Trans Niger Pipeline

The Federal Government is set to re-open the Trans Niger Pipeline which has a production capacity of 180,000 barrels of crude oil per day. 

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Six months after the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) was shut down due to vandalism and oil theft, the Federal Government is set to re-open the pipeline which has a production capacity of 180,000 barrels of crude oil per day. 

Investors King learnt that Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) serves as part of Nigeria’s gas liquids evacuation infrastructure, which is vital for domestic power generation and the export of liquefied gas.

According to a statement released by the General Manager of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Mr Bala Bunti on his official Twitter handle, the Trans Niger Pipeline will enhance Nigeria’s oil production capacity. 

The General Manager noted that NAPIMS has been in talks with the host communities along the pipeline to bolster security for the crucial oil infrastructure. 

“The NAPIMS leadership delegation under the  General Manager of Joint Venture operations, Engr Zakariya Budawara, had spent the last one week with the Bodo community in Gokana LGA of Rivers State where the pipeline is situated and runs through”. He said. 

Bunti further stated that the people of Bodo have pledged their commitment to ensure the security of the oil infrastructure in exchange for improved quality of life, job creation and capacity building. 

It will be recalled that the Trans Niger Pipeline was shut down by Shell Petroleum Development Company because of vandalization and oil theft. It has been moribund ever since because no crude has flown through it.

Investors King had earlier reported that Nigeria’s oil production has been characterised by theft, vandalism and sabotage which has led to a massive drop in production. 

Some major oil companies had announced a cease of operation because of vandalism and insecurity. 

In July 2022, the Managing Director and Country Chair for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Osagie Okunbor said oil theft was one of the reasons that Nigeria could not meet its OPEC quota of 1.8 million barrels a day.

Similarly, in August 2022, for the first time in five years, Nigeria lost its crown as Africa’s largest oil producer to Angola.

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Clean Energy: Over 70,000 People to Benefit from Africa Mini-grids Program

Over 70,000 Nigerians will benefit from its recently launched Africa Mini-grids Program (AMP) instituted to enable access to clean energy

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The federal government of Nigeria has said over 70,000 Nigerians will benefit from its recently launched Africa Mini-grids Program (AMP) instituted to enable access to clean energy by increasing the financial viability, and promoting scaled-up commercial investment, in renewable energy mini-grids.

Africa Minigrids Program (AMP) is a project that connects investors with mini-grids stakeholders to help create access to clean energy for the 548 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who currently don’t have access to electricity, which is currently active in 18 African countries.

The Africa Mini-grids Program (AMP) was launched by the federal government through the Rural Electricfication Agency (REA), as the four-year project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria.

Speaking on the launch of the program, the Rural Electrification agency (REA) said, “The Africa Minigrids Program in Nigeria is designed as an enabler project of the REA’s Energising Agriculture Programme (EAP) which aims to advance one of REA’s strategic priorities of focusing on the unserved and underserved to increase economic opportunities through agriculture and productive sectors in rural communities across the country.”

Also commenting on the launch of the program, the UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria Mr. Mohamed Yahya said: “access to reliable, sustainable, affordable energy is a catalyst to socio-economic development, and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“By scaling up solutions such as renewable energy mini-grids, we will be able to close the energy access gap and unlock opportunities for people in Nigeria and across the region.”

While commending the collaborative spirit of the Agency’s partners and stakeholders that enabled the activation of the program, the Managing Director/CEO of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Engr Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, disclosed that the Africa Minigrids Program will serve as another catalyst for improved access to sustainable energy and equitable and inclusive impact on livelihoods by unlocking agricultural value addition opportunities from electrification.

He added “this sectoral approach is in line with the Agency’s focus on programs to advance the electrification targets and broader social and economic development objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

In Africa, mini-grids have been identified as a key platform to address critical electrification shortages. Creating successful mini-grid ecosystems beyond pilot projects is now the focus of African governments facing severe shortages, especially for their off-grid populations.

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Markets

A Busy End to the Week

Stock markets are bouncing back on Friday, although I don’t think anyone is getting excited by the moves which pale in comparison to the losses that preceded them.

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By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA

Stock markets are bouncing back on Friday, although I don’t think anyone is getting excited by the moves which pale in comparison to the losses that preceded them.

This looks like nothing more than a dead cat bounce after a steep decline over the last couple of weeks as investors have been forced to once again accept that interest rates are going to rise further and faster than hoped.

Double-digit eurozone inflation

Inflation in the eurozone hit 10% in September ahead of schedule, with markets expecting a jump to 9.7% from 9.1% in August. In normal circumstances that may have triggered a reaction but these are anything but normal. Markets are still pricing in a more than 70% chance of a 75 basis point rate hike from the ECB next month with an outside chance of 1%. The euro is slightly lower following the release which also showed core inflation rising a little higher than expected to 4.8%.

Sterling recovers as the UK is revised out of a potential recession

We’re seeing the third day of gains for the pound which has now recovered the bulk of the losses sustained after the “mini-budget” a week ago. This is not a sign of investors coming around the new Chancellor’s unfunded tax-cutting, but rather a reflection of the work done since to calm the market reaction. That includes the emergency intervention from the BoE, talk of measures to balance the cost of the tax cuts, reported discussions with the OBR and rumoured unrest within the Tory party. We’ll have to see what that amounts to and sterling could certainly react negatively again to inaction or the wrong action.

GDP data this morning brought some good news, although as far as positive updates go, this is surely towards the more insignificant end. The UK is not in recession after the second quarter GDP was revised up from -0.1% to +0.2%. While all positive revisions are welcome, the technical recession wasn’t really significant in the first place. The important thing was that the UK is struggling to grow and facing a probable deeper recession down the road and today’s revision doesn’t change that. ​

Disappointing Chinese surveys

China’s PMIs highlighted the widening gulf between the performance of state-owned firms versus their private competition. It goes without saying that being backed by the state in uncertain times like this carries certain advantages and that has been evident for some time.

Private firms have been more sensitive to Covid restrictions and have therefore been heavily hampered this year. Still, even with those state-backed benefits, the headline PMI was far from encouraging rising to 50.1 and barely in growth territory. With the non-manufacturing PMI also slipping from 52.6 to 50.6, it’s clear that the economy still faces enormous headwinds and the global economy stalling around it will only add to them.

BoJ ramps up bond purchases amid higher yields

The Bank of Japan ramped up bond purchases overnight as it continues to defend its yield curve control thresholds in volatile market conditions. Rising global yields have forced the central bank to repeatedly purchase JGBs in order to maintain its target. There has been a growing expectation that the BoJ could tweak its 0% target or widen the band it allows fluctuations between in order to ease the pressure on the currency but that’s not been forthcoming, with the MoF instead intervening in the markets for the first time since 1998. The intervention doom loop continues.

RBI rate hike and credit line

The Reserve Bank of India hiked the repo rate by 50bps to 5.9% on Friday, in what will likely be one of its final tightening measures in the fight against inflation. The decision was widely expected and followed shortly after by guidance to state-run refiners to reduce dollar buying in spot markets through the use of a $9 billion credit line. The strength of the dollar is posing a risk to countries around the world, as we’ve seen very clearly in recent weeks as mentioned above, and measures like this will seek to alleviate those pressures. Much more will be needed to make any significant difference though.

Oil edges higher into the weekend

Oil prices are rising again as we head into the weekend, with the focus now on the OPEC+ next week. There’s been plenty of rumours about how the alliance will respond to the deteriorating economic outlook and lower prices. A sizeable cut now looks on the cards, the question is whether it will be large enough to offset the demand destruction caused by the impending economic downturn. Not to mention how any cut would work considering the shortfall in output targets throughout this year.

Brent continues to trade around the March to August lows having traded below here over the last week amid recession fear in the markets. We’re now seeing some resistance around $88, perhaps a sign that traders don’t believe OPEC+ will deliver a large enough cut to make a significant difference.

Encouraging but maybe not sustainable

Gold is making gains for a fourth consecutive day after a difficult start to the week. While the recovery has been encouraging, it’s hard to imagine it building on it in any significant way as that would probably require rate expectations to have peaked and inflation perhaps to have as well. While that may be the case, it’s hard to imagine pressure easing from here which may maintain pressure on the yellow metal for a little longer yet.

Key resistance to the upside lies around $1,680 and $1,700, with $1,620 and $1,600 below being of interest.

A period of stability is what bitcoin needs

It’s been a very choppy week in bitcoin which has failed to make a sustainable run in either direction despite attempts at both. Perhaps we are seeing a floor forming a little shy of the early summer lows around $17,500, although that will very much depend on risk appetite not plummeting once more which it very much has the potential to do. I keep using the word resilience when discussing bitcoin and that has very much remained the case. It did also struggle to build on the rally earlier this week, even hold it into the end of the day, so perhaps a period of stability is what it needs.

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