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23 May 2012, 20:40

Jury: No patent infringement in Oracle/Google case

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Oracle vs Android The jury in the Oracle vs Google trial has returned a unanimous verdict that Google did not infringe Oracle's patents. The jury was dismissed and, because of an agreement between Google, Oracle and the judge, will not have to hear the final damages phase of the trial. Google's director of litigation, Catherine Lacevera, said the verdict was "a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem". An Oracle spokesperson said the company would "continue to defend and uphold Java’s core write once run anywhere principle".

The damages phase is now cancelled; how the case progresses is now in the hands of Judge William Alsup, who has to rule on whether Oracle can claim copyright protection on the structure and organisation of 37 Java APIs. The jury had found that Google had infringed the copyright of the APIs, but had been told to assume that APIs were protectable under copyright. The jury could not decide if Google had used the material under "fair use" either.

Without an affirmative ruling on the issue of copyrightability of APIs, Oracle is left with a copyright claim spanning nine lines of code and some test files, and under the agreement, they will only be able to claim statutory damages. If Oracle do get an affirmative ruling though, a new jury and a new trial would hear the case for monetary damages.


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