Jury: Google’s Android Doesn’t Infringe on Oracle’s Java Patents

| News

Oracle vs Google Java Patents

Google’s Android platform does not infringe upon Oracle patents, a federal jury decided Wednesday, ending a five week trial and lawsuit dating back to late 2010. The patents at issue relate to Oracle’s Java platform, which the company acquired during its purchase of Sun Microsystems in 2009. 

At issue were eight claims covering two patents, RE38,104, “Method and Apparatus for Resolving Data References in Generated Code,” and 6,061,520, “Method and System for Performing Static Initialization.” The jury found that Oracle had not proven infringement on any of its patent claims. 

Presiding U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed the jury following the announcement of its verdict, thanking the members for their service and telling the courtroom that this was “the longest civil trial I’ve ever been in.” 

While the trial is now over, the legal dispute between the two tech giants continues.  Today’s verdict comes just over two weeks after the same jury was unable to agree during the first phase of the trial on key aspects of Google’s use of Oracle copyrights in its Android operating system.

The jury agreed that Google did infringe on several Oracle copyrights but could not agree on whether such use was protected under the fair use doctrine. As a result, Oracle was entitled to only statutory damages, valued no higher than $150,000. Oracle initially sought approximately $1 billion in copyright and patent infringement damages.

Google is challenging that verdict and requesting a mistrial, arguing that copyright infringement cannot be established absent a clear ruling on fair use. 

Also remaining at issue is whether certain Java APIs are even eligible for copyright protections, a question that could dramatically impact open source software developers and distributors. If APIs can be copyrighted, Oracle could engage in new litigation to obtain a portion of Google’s Android profits.

Judge Alsup is expected to rule on both outstanding issues in the coming weeks. 

In official statements, both Google and Oracle commented on Wednesday’s verdict, with Google calling it a victory for “the entire Android platform,” and Oracle declaring that they will “continue to defend and uphold” Java’s patents and copyrights.

Comments

geoduck

I’m absolutely gobsmacked.
I was so sure that Google was going to get nailed.
So much for Android getting crippled by the courts.

BurmaYank

Nemo… where are you?  (I hope you’re OK! - I’m sure I’m not the only one missing you here, now.)

What’s going on here?

daemon

Mueller claims that Judge Alsup could still over-turn the jury verdict and declare that Google infringed the patents as a matter of law.

My only question is: If the judge can over-turn a not guilty verdict issued by a Jury, what’s the point of Jury trials?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I hope Nemo is well. A year ago, he bought into what Florian “The T?rd” Mueller was selling you guys, and things got heated here. Well, it turns out that Ol’ Bosco was completely right about this one.

In the technology industry, there are many innovators, Apple and Google included. And there are many who borrow and build upon innovation, legally, despite the wishes of previous innovators. We grant copyright and patent holders a great deal of power to protect what they’ve made, but we do not grant absolute power. How Alsup handled Oracle v. Google is quite instructive for how courts have to counterbalance the extreme IP excesses granted by the Patent Office. It is fitting that in the end, the jury focussing on a small subset of Oracle’s best patent claims couldn’t find in Oracle’s favor.

On the copyright front, the copyrightability of APIs remains for the judge to decide, hopefully next week. A decision that they are copyrightable would have a more than significant, and highly negative effect on the software industry. Either decision will be appealed as high as it can go.

@geoduck: You’re only gobsmacked because you believed what you wanted to hear. I honestly feel bad for you, because people with bad intentions, like Mueller, played you for a fool to make a buck.

Log-in to comment