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InfoQ Homepage News Jury Denies Patent Infringement by Google

Jury Denies Patent Infringement by Google

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In a decisive victory today, the jury returned a verdict in the Oracle vs Google case that found Google had not infringed on any of Oracles patents as part of the claim. From Groklaw:

Question 1: has Oracle proved by preponderance of evidence that Google infringed?

Claim 11: not proven
27: no
29: no
39: no
40: no
41: no

Question 2: not proven

1: no
20: no

Question 3: no answer, no response, not applicable.

As there has been no patents infringed, there will not be a third part of the process which would have calculated damages. The jury has been dismissed from the case.

Prior to the jury having retired for deliberation, the Judge and the two sides agreed that if there were no patent infringements, that the damages would be dismissed and the judge would determine the issue. Since there has been a resounding no from the jury, they have been discharged from their duty.

The result of the case is that the only accusation that has been upheld - widely known at the start of the case - was Google's copying of the 8 test files, as well as a significant overlap between the 'rangeCheck' function, covered previously by InfoQ.

However, the Judge has also been investigating these claims, and in court asserted that anyone could have written this 9-line function. Indeed, the jury voted 9-3 for fair use on the infringing code, prior to the judge's order that it be considered infringing:

We all just interviewed juror, who said jury was split 9-3 for google on copyright fair use. Um, wow.

In addition, the test cases (which were never shipped as part of Android and were subsequently removed) were found not to have significantly aided the development of the Android platform.

Oracle's only hope is that the judge comes back with a token win but no or insignificant damages. However, the value of the damages will likely be asymptotically approaching zero.

Other reports on the internet are painting this as a significant victory by Google:


A federal jury has found that Google did not infringe on Oracle patents in building its Android mobile operating system.

As part of its lawsuit against Google, Oracle had argued that in creating the Dalvik virtual machine — the software platform that runs Java applications on Android — the search giant knowingly lifted intellectual property involving two Java-related patents that Oracle acquired with its purchase of Sun Microsystems. But on Wednesday morning, the jury dismissed Oracle’s claims.


Google on Wednesday was cleared of charges that it had infringed Oracle's Java patents, ending the second major phase of the trial.

"Today's jury verdict that Android does not infringe Oracle’s patents was a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem," a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

CNN Money:

In one of Silicon Valley's landmark court battles, Google appears to have won a big victory over Oracle. A jury on Wednesday cleared Google of violating any of Oracle's patents with its Android mobile software.

Oracle had claimed that Google's Android infringes two patents that Oracle holds on its Java software, a ubiquitous programming language powering everything from phones to websites. The jury found otherwise.


A majority of jurors favored Google's argument from the start, and the holdouts - primarily Thompson himself [ed: the jury foreman] - were a beleaguered few favoring Oracle. At one point during the copyright phase, in fact, Thompson said he was the lone holdout. At the end, he swung a couple more jurors to his side, but they were still a distinct minority.

The patent phase was largely the same, with a majority of the jurors leaning toward Google from the beginning of the deliberations, with a few undecided. That quickly shifted to a situation where Thompson was the lone pro-Oracle holdout, he said. Of the array of technical questions sent to the judge during deliberations, many were his own, Thompson said. Finally, realizing he wasn't swaying anyone else to his side, he determined that Oracle hadn't met its burden of proof and Google should be off the hook. "The nail that's poking up eventually gets beaten down," Thompson said, smiling.

Linus Torvalds:

Prediction: instead of Oracle coming out and admitting they were morons about their idiotic suit against Android, they'll come out posturing and talk about how they'll be vindicated, and pay lawyers to take it to the next level of idiocy.

Whether APIs can be copyrighted will be left to the Judge to decide; however, he is likely to base his decision in line with others such as the European Union which ruled that APIs cannot be copyrighted.

What do you think of the verdict?

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