Google gets victory in patent infringement case
By Bryan Bishop | TheVerge.com,
Over a week after it began deliberations, the jury has returned a verdict in the patent infringement case between Oracle and Google, finding that the search giant did not infringe upon Oracle’s patents with Android. In play were infringement counts on eight different claims across two separate patents: RE38,104 and 6,061,520. Given the decision, there will be no need for a damages phase in connection with the patent claims, and with the recent agreement by Google and Oracle to postpone any damages hearings related to copyright infringement, the jury has now been dismissed from the proceedings altogether. Judge William Alsup thanked the jurors for their hard work before they left the courtroom, noting that “this is the longest trial, civil trial, I’ve ever been in.”
It’s the final victory in several trial coups for Google. While the jury did find that Android infringed Oracle copyrights by its use of the the structure, sequence, and organization of 37 Java APIs, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether it was covered under fair use, rendering the verdict moot for the moment. The jury found that Google had infringed on only one other copyright count — the use of nine lines of rangeCheck code — though Judge Alsup later ruled that Google had also infringed by its use of eight Java test files in Android, adding a second minor infringement count to Google’s plate.
While the jury’s involvement has come to an end, there are still several outstanding questions. Judge Alsup has yet to rule on whether the SSO of the Java APIs can be copyrighted in the first place; the jury was asked to come to their findings under the assumption that it was. He will be receiving additional briefs from both Oracle’s and Google’s legal teams within the next hour. It’s not yet clear when he will be making his final decision on the issue, though Alsup has already made it clear he will be taking off the next two days for personal reasons. Per the agreement that both teams struck last week, should Alsup find that the SSO is not covered under copyright law, Oracle will receive statutory damages from Google for the rangeCheck and test file usage, a maximum of $150,000 per infringement count. Should he rule to the contrary, all three copyright infringement counts will be bundled together to be dealt with in a new trial or in an appeals court (no matter what Alsup’s decision, appeals are inevitable given the magnitude of the case).
Update: Both Oracle and Google have now provided us with official statements in response to Wednesday’s verdict.
Oracle presented overwhelming evidence at trial that Google knew it would fragment and damage Java. We plan to continue to defend and uphold Java’s core write once run anywhere principle and ensure it is protected for the nine million Java developers and the community that depend on Java compatibility.
Today’s jury verdict that Android does not infringe Oracle’s patents was a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem.
Matt Macari contributed to this report.
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