JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Jury deals blow to Oracle v Google case: no infringement

Date

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

Despite an earlier copyright finding, jury decides patent not infringed.

Rolling in it ... Oracle chief Larry Ellison.

Rolling in it ... Oracle chief Larry Ellison. Photo: AP

Google's Android mobile platform has not infringed Oracle's patents, a California jury decided, putting an indefinite hold on Oracle's quest for damages in a legal fight between the two Silicon Valley giants over smartphone technology.

The verdict was delivered on Wednesday in a San Francisco federal court. The same jury could not unanimously agree on the copyright allegations earlier in the case, though the jury foreman told reporters on Wednesday that the final vote on a key copyright issue heavily favoured Google.

Oracle sued Google in August 2010, saying Android - the world's most used mobile software - infringed on its intellectual property rights to the Java programming language. Google says it does not violate Oracle's patents and that Oracle cannot copyright certain parts of Java, an open-source or publicly available software language.

Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger on Wednesday said the company would continue to defend and uphold Java's unique functionality.

Attorneys for Oracle looked grim after the verdict. Google lawyers smiled and shook hands, and Google attorney Robert Van Nest said they were grateful for the jury's verdict.

The jury found earlier that Oracle had proven copyright infringement for parts of Java. But the jury could not unanimously agree on whether Google could fairly use that material.

Without a finding against Google on the fair use question, Oracle cannot recover damages on the bulk of its copyright claims. US District Judge William Alsup has not yet decided on several legal issues that could determine how a potential retrial on copyright would unfold, if at all.

Jury foreman Greg Thompson said that at times he was the only holdout for Oracle on that fair use copyright question. When the jury finally declared itself deadlocked, the final vote count was 9-3 in favor of Google, Thompson said.

According to Thompson, a retirement plan specialist, one of the other jurors used a food analogy to describe Oracle's evidence.

"He said he was waiting for the steak, and all he got was the parsley," Thompson said.

All the other jurors filed past reporters outside the courtroom and declined to comment.

While Oracle is seeking about $US1 billion in copyright damages, the patent damages in play were much lower. Before trial, Google offered to pay Oracle roughly $US2.8 million in damages on the two patents remaining in the case, covering the period through 2011, according to a filing made jointly by the companies.

For future damages, Google proposed paying Oracle 0.5 per cent of Android revenue on one patent until it expires this December and 0.015 percent on a second patent until it expires in April 2018. Oracle rejected the settlement offer.

During trial, Judge Alsup revealed that Android generated roughly $US97.7 million in revenue during the first quarter of 2010.

twitter  Follow IT Pro on Twitter

5 comments so far

  • It's not accurate to say, "The jury found earlier that Oracle had proven copyright infringement for parts of Java". The judge instructed the jury to assume that Java APIs are covered by copyright, and if they are, to determine if Google has infringed. The judge however is aware that APIs have never successfully proven in court to be copyrightable and across the pond the European Court of Justice ruled last week that they weren't. After so many years, the only thing Oracle has proven is that Google copied nine lines of code. Bravo, Oracle, bravo.

    Commenter
    Dags
    Date and time
    May 24, 2012, 10:24AM
    • It was a very sad day when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems.

      Sun had a long track record of benevolent innovation for the betterment of all. Google "sun microsystems contribution", and you will find a staggering list of "gifts to the world" from Sun, including now ubiquitous networking protocols, programming languages and more support for open source projects than any other organisation.

      Oracle: none of the above.
      Don't get me wrong - Oracle make some good products, which deserve the premium they command, and there's nothing wrong with a company just getting on with making quality product.

      My problem is their pattern of acquiring the rights to free-for-use products, and either trying to turn a profit from them, or shut them down altogether, where the product was seen to be a competitor. In my book, that's dirty pool.

      Shame on you Oracle.
      You have lost my respect, and I hope your company image takes a hammering, as the public wake up to your unconscionable business strategies.

      Commenter
      goHomeOracle
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 24, 2012, 11:53AM
      • couldn't agree more - what oracle immediately did with Solaris was fair warning to all.
        I still regard much of the woes relating to cross litigation, the wants and needs of companies to troll for patents as the former apple CEO's lasting legacy.

        Commenter
        Pierre
        Location
        coughs
        Date and time
        May 25, 2012, 11:20AM
    • I'm a big fan of Java. Oracle seem to be doing everything in their power to screw it up.

      Commenter
      Jacorb Effect
      Date and time
      May 24, 2012, 1:11PM
      • Looks like everyone wants a piece of Android!

        Commenter
        AJ
        Date and time
        May 24, 2012, 1:30PM

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        Related Coverage

        Oracle showdown against Google set for April

        Giant technology companies Oracle and Google will finally face off at a trial commencing on April 16, over claims that may have implications for all mobile devices running the Android operating system.

        Oracle focuses on Google 'Java' emails in Android trial

        Oracle intends to rely heavily on Google's own internal emails to prove Google's top executives knew they were stealing Java.

        Google CEO grilled over emails he couldn't remember

        Google CEO Larry Page spent nearly an hour in a federal courtroom Wednesday deflecting questions about his role in a copyright dispute over some of the technology in his company's Android software for smartphones.

        Oracle probes Google engineer

        A Google engineer denied that he referred to Oracle or any other company when he wrote in an email that Google should take a licence to use the Java programming language.

        Google's Schmidt challenged about Java

        Google's former CEO defended the company's use of Java, telling jurors he was confident that the Android smartphone platform was developed legally and that top executives at Sun Microsystems did not object to the project now at the center of a high-stakes court battle.

        Oracle v Google: Copyright case goes to jury

        Jurors began deliberating on Monday about whether Google violated Oracle's copyright on parts of Java.

        Google Android violated Oracle copyright: jury

        A jury in a high-profile technology case has rules that Google violated copyrights owned by Oracle for the Android mobile platform, but fails to agree on whether damages should be awarded.

        Advertisement
        Featured advertisers
        Advertisement