Google did not infringe Oracle patents says jury
Third phase of trial, focused on damages, is cancelled but judge still has to make key rulings on copyright
Published: 24 May, 2012
Google has won the second phase of its legal battle with Oracle, with a jury ruling that it did not infringe two Java patents when developing Android.
The 10-person federal jury decided unanimously in favor of Google. Although the patents issue was less important than the first phase, which focused on copyright, the new verdict confirms the belief of many, that Oracle has made a miscalculation in chasing the search giant in court over its Java IPR. Stanford Law School professor and IPR expert Brian Love told Bloomberg: "This case is maybe something like a near disaster for Oracle."
In phase one, Google was found to have infringed Oracle's copyright in nine lines of Android code, but the jury failed to decide on whether this amounted to "fair use," preventing Oracle from seeking up to $1bn in damages. And judge William Alsup still has to rule on the broader issues of whether APIs, the technology at issue, are copyrightable at all. If he decides for the negative, Oracle could be limited to seeking just $150,000 in damages.
Alsup must also rule on Oracle's request for a patent judgment based on his own reading of the evidence, and Google's request for a retrial on copyright infringement. After the patents verdict, Alsup dismissed the jury from the case and canceled the third phase of the trial, concerning damages.
"Today's jury verdict that Android does not infringe Oracle's patents was a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem," said Catherine Lacavera, Google's director of litigation, in a statement.
An Oracle spokesperson said: "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."
The proceedings will resume on Tuesday, following the Memorial Day holiday.
Meanwhile, in another important patents battle, the CEOs of Apple and Samsung failed to come to agreement in court-ordered negotiations held on Monday and Tuesday. Tim Cook and Choi Gee-sung did not achieve the resolution which US District Judge Lucy Koh had hoped for, to avoid a trial scheduled for July in San Francisco. However, further negotiations are likely before that date, though without the CEOs. "There is still a big gap in the patent war with Apple but we still have several negotiation options including cross-licensing," said JK Shin, the head of Samsung's mobile division, according to Reuters. A truce in California could be the basis for agreements in other cases, which the two firms have filed against one another in 10 countries plus the US ITC.