Jury issues partial verdict in Oracle vs. Google Java lawsuit

The jury has issued a partial verdict in the copyright phase of the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit, in which Oracle is claiming that Google violated Java patents and copyright with its Android mobile operating system.

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A jury found on Monday that Google infringed on some copyrights of the Java programming language now owned by Oracle.

The jury unanimously found that Google infringed upon the “overall structure, sequence and organization” of 37 Java application programming interfaces (APIs). However, the jury was deadlocked in trying to decide whether Google’s use of the APIs constituted “fair use,” and also decided that the Android documentation did not violate the APIs.

Florian Mueller, a well-known software patent blogger, wrote that the structure and sequence question was “far and away the most important question the jury had to answer at this stage.”

Oracle and Google statements on the verdict

Oracle: "Oracle, the nine million Java developers, and the entire Java community thank the jury for their verdict in this phase of the case. The overwhelming evidence demonstrated that Google knew it needed a license and that its unauthorized fork of Java in Android shattered Java's central write once run anywhere principle.  Every major commercial enterprise -- except Google -- has a license for Java and maintains compatibility to run across all computing platforms."

Google: "We appreciate the jury’s efforts, and know that fair use and infringement are two sides of the same coin,” said Google spokesman Jim Prosser in an e-mail. “The core issue is whether the APIs here are copyrightable, and that’s for the court to decide. We expect to prevail on this issue and Oracle’s other claims."

Mueller added that he thought the instructions to the jury regarding the “fair use” question were too vague and implied that “fair use” covered more than he felt it should.

“With better jury instructions, I believe the jury would have thrown out ‘fair use’ unanimously,” he wrote.

Google attorneys argued that there should be a mistrial because the jury was deadlocked on the question of fair use. The judge in the case is expected to make a ruling on that sometime this week. Damages for this portion of the trial were not decided and won’t be until later, after the patent portion of the trial is complete.

The lawsuit between the two technology giants has been carrying on for about 18 months now, and will continue on. The two parties will next butt heads in the patent portion of the lawsuit, which stems from Oracle’s claim that Google violated Java patents with its Android mobile operating system.

The next phase of the legal battle between Oracle and Google began immediately, and is looking at whether Google violated two patents associated with Java. Oracle acquired Java when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2010.

The jury's decision is embedded below:

12-05-07 Oracle Google Partial Jury Verdict on Copyright

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