Jury finds Google infringed on some Oracle Java copyrights

“A Northern California jury on Monday found that Google Inc infringed upon Oracle Corp’s copyrights on the structure of part of the Java software programming language, in a high stakes trial over smartphone technology,” Malathi Nayak reports for Reuters.
“However, the jury failed to decide after days of deliberation whether Google had the right to fair use of that copyrighted structure,” Nayak reports. “Despite finding Google infringed upon some of Oracle’s copyrights, the lack of a clear, full decision may represent a setback for Oracle. The U.S. software company is trying to prove the Internet search leader did not have a right to fair use of Java’s structural and organizational elements.”

Nayak reports, “Google’s lawyers challenged the key jury decision on Java copyrights after the Monday verdict, moving for a mistrial… The seven woman, five man jury will begin hearing evidence on Oracle’s patents after rendering the copyright verdict. A third phase to decide damages would come after the patent testimony.”

John Letzing reports for The Wall Street Journal, “The judge overseeing the case indicated Oracle would only be entitled to statutory damages as a result, and not a portion of Google’s profits. The size of potential statutory damages in the case wasn’t immediately clear, though they are generally expected to be less than $100,000—or a fraction of the roughly $1 billion Oracle has said it is entitled to for the total amount of copyright and patent infringement alleged in the case.”

“Oracle has said in the past it believes it is owed billions of dollars in damages, and may seek an injunction blocking the sale of devices built on Android,” Letzing reports. “While Android is provided for free to phone and tablet makers, it provides Google with significant leverage in the increasingly important mobile-device market. The technology has grown to become the most popular smartphone software platform in the world.”

Letzing reports, “After the jury read its verdict, an Oracle attorney suggested the business software giant should yet be entitled to more than just statutory damages as a result of copyright infringement, and should receive a share of Google’s profits. Judge William Alsup countered that the suggestion, based on the minimal amount of Java code infringed, ‘borders on the ridiculous.’”

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