In a scenario, where, I have made a unique concrete result oriented software in Java, using Java library functions to make the software, my questions are:

  1. Is my unique concrete result oriented Java program patentable since I have used Oracle's Java library functions?


  1. If I just have my product patented (if 1 is yes), then will I have to pay Oracle (since Oracle owns the Java libraries I am using) any royalty just for an issued patent even when I am making no revenue out of it? And if I do make revenue out of it, will I need to give Oracle any royalties?

1 Answer 1


Your invention is distinct from your implementation. That is, you have implemented a proof of concept in Java using its libraries. However, a patent relates to an invention, not an implementation. Thus the use of Java in your implementation would not inhibit you patenting your invention (assuming the invention meets the patentablity requirements).

Moreover, receiving a patent would never require you to pay royalties. However, practising your invention might do (whether or not you receive a patent). You would need to assess this by considering the technologies used in your product (and perhaps by performing a freedom-to-operate search).

  • I am not sure on how to interpret this link: wired.com/2016/05/… (Google used Java APIs and what I understand from this article is that court finally ruled in favor of Oracle. Please share some insights on this case as it would help me to understand if I can use Java API for my utility program, even if my program focuses on how business is done but still uses Java APIs). Please assist me.
    – KSR
    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:06
  • @reindeer That case relates to copyright, not patents. As such, it is off-topic here: Law.SE might be suitable for you. However, by way of explanation: the case turns on whether APIs are copyrightable, and whether Google copying Oracle's Java API for its own non-Java platform is fair use. The saga is ongoing. However, simply calling Java libraries using the Java API is completely different from what's happening there (and is fundamentally the entire purpose of an API).
    – Maca
    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:12
  • Thank you. It makes sense. If I am to reframe - Calling and using APIs (which includes overriding methods of classes and interfaces of those APIs) is allowed but re-writing/modifying the library is not allowed - from intellectual property point of view. Am I correct? Thank you
    – KSR
    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:38
  • 1
    @reindeer That is probably correct, though the law on this point is far from settled unfortunately.
    – Maca
    Jan 17, 2017 at 3:52

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