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Jury Clears Google of Infringing Oracle’s Java Patents

Thompson said jury sentiment was always with Google despite its decision that Google infringed Oracle’s copyrights

After six days of deliberating, a federal jury Wednesday cleared Google and Android of infringing two Java-related patents now held by Oracle.

The jury was then dismissed for good since it won't be figuring out any damages Google might owe Oracle for treading on its copyrights. It may take another jury to decide if Android made so-called "fair use" of the IP. This one couldn't, causing Google to move for a mistrial.

Oracle wants significant damages connected with what Google's making on Android.

Google issued a statement saying, "Today's jury verdict that Android does not infringe Oracle's patents was a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem."

Oracle had one too: "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."

Ars Technica said the foreman of the jury, Greg Thompson, was willing to talk to the assembled press with Oracle's lawyers within earshot. (Reuters said they looked "grim.")

Thompson said jury sentiment was always with Google despite its decision that Google infringed Oracle's copyrights. It deadlocked 9 to 3 Google's favor on fair use. Those isolated three included Thompson, who was the lone holdout until he persuaded two others to his side. The majority saw the widgetry as "functional" as opposed to "creative" and they correlated functional with fair use.

The decision on infringement, Thompson said, was seen as dictated by the judge's instructions. He also suggested that some of jurors felt that Oracle's claims weren't in the "common good."

Apparently the patent phase was a reprise with Thompson being alone in supporting Oracle until he decided Oracle hadn't met the burden of proof over whether Android's Dalvik virtual machine mimics the Java Virtual Machine.

The judge actually found the jury too pro-Google and overturned its decision on copyright, expanding it to include code the jury said didn't infringe. He could always do the same on the patents.

Next week perhaps Judge Alsup will be ready to rule on the copyrightability of APIs.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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