Partial victory for Oracle in Java case
Google files for a mistrial
After deliberating over the weekend, the jury in the Oracle v. Google Java-copyright trial has returned a partial victory for Larry Ellison's crew.
The jury found for Oracle in agreeing on the initial question: that Google did infringe on Oracle's copyright with the use of 37 APIs in Andorid, including nine lines of software code in the rangeCheck function used in Android. However, the same jury remained deadlocked on the issue of whether the appropriation constituted fair use of the code, and found that Java's documentation had not been copied.
Because of that continuing deadlock, Google has asked for a mistrial to be declared. The full verdict has been posted here.
"We appreciate the jury's efforts, and know that fair use and infringement are two sides of the same coin," Google told El Reg in a statement. "The core issue is whether the APIs here are copyrightable, and that's for the court to decide. We expect to prevail on this issue and Oracle's other claims."
The loss might not be too bad for Google. Sources close to the trial point out that the nine lines of code are Google's only infringement, and Oracle apparently reported no specific damages caused by them. Oracle has already had its damages reduced in the case, and Google might walk away with a slap on the wrist – as well as a hefty legal bill.
It has taken nearly two years for the two sides to reach this verdict, after Oracle initiated legal action shortly after taking control of Sun. Although the former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz testified in Google's favor, saying the company never had a problem with the Chocolate Factory's implementation of Java, the jury seems unswayed.
The next stage of the process is a similar trial over the patents section of the allegations, before the third phase which will cover what damages, if any, Google faces. ®
Amended with the publication of the full verdict.
Good day for Google... so far
The jury were not "deliberating over the weekend" - they were sent home Friday and told not to discuss. They continued deliberating Monday and reached a partial verdict.
The judge had earlier reserved to himself the decision on whether the "'structure sequence and organization" (SSO - in other words, the APIs of the disputed 37 packages) are copyrightable. For the purposes of question #1 he instructed the jury to assume SSO is copyrightable therefore the jury could hardly do anything else but find for Oracle.
Q1. As to the compilable code for the 37 Java API packages in question taken as a group:
Q1 (a) Has Oracle proven that Google infringed the overall structure, sequence and organization of copyrighted works. YES.
Q1(b). The jury could not decide if Google's use of the SSOs constituted fair-use or not.
Oracle made a point of shifting their accusations late-on to the Java API documentation - as most of us know this is generated by javadoc.
Q2. As to the documentation for the 37 Java API packages in question taken as a group:
Q2(a). The jury found Google did not infringe.
Q2(b) moot (no need to decide).
Q3 Google had already conceded it copied the following, the only issue to decide was if the use was de minimis (and therefore non-infringing).
Q3(a). Google DID infringed for the rangeCheck() method in TimSort.java and ComparableTimSort.java.
Q3(b). Google DID NOTinfringe for source code in 7 "Impl.java" files and onr "ACL" file.
Q3(c). Google DID NOT infringe for the English language comments in CodeSourceTest.java and CollectionCertStoreParametersTest.java.
Q4. An advisory for the judge. If Q1(a) is found for Oracle then...
Q4(a). Has Google proven that Sun and/or Oracle engaged in conduct Sun and/or Oracle knew or should have known would reasonably lead Google to believe that it would not need a license to use the structure, sequence and organization of the copyrighted compilable code. YES.
Q4(b) If so, has Google proven that it in fact reasonably relied on such conduct by Sun and/or Oracle in deciding to use the structure, sequence and organization of the copyrighted compilable code without obtaining a license. NO
Q4(b) is irrelevant if the judge finds that SSOs (APIs) are not copyrightable. If he finds they are copyrightable, well Google's loss is the least of your worries since it means that if upheld on appeal that the American software industry will implode as originators of APIs begin suing others using those APIs.
Google is putting forward a motion for mistrial based on Q1(b) not being answered. The basis of the appeal will likely be that it is established case law that all parts of a question should be answered.
If you thought the USA's software patent situation absurd, copyrightable APIs will have you retiring to a quiet cave with plenty of provisions whilst USA goes into meltdown.
@AC 22:40GMT - Re: ... there's nothing except one line of statutory damages. 150K USD tops.
Instead of a cold down-vote, I'll try to help you understand why others did it.
1. Groklaw talk is always based on accurate court documents and first hand testimony of eye witnesses present during the trial. You seem to be reading their articles so you should already know this by now.
2. They are as unbiased as Fosspatents with the exception that they are right almost every time, and this is because of what I said in #1 above.
3. In case you feel Groklaw has a special affection for Google, please go back to their site and read about the Apple vs. Psystar. You will discover to your horror that they were clearly with Apple on that matter not because they love Apple much but because that was in their view the correct way to apply copyright laws. It was about right vs. wrong.
4. As for paying their bills, there are some people who don't mind donating to a website like Groklaw while others prefer to finance shills and astroturfers. Guess who are wasting their money here.
No, Oracle lost
The jury found for Oracle only on question 1A, and that only because the judge instructed them to *assume* that API's can be copyrighted. They deadlocked on question 1B (fair use).
Whether API's can be copyrighted or not - as a matter of law - will be ruled on by the judge later on this month. If the Court rules that API's cannot be copyrighted, then the entire Question 1 becomes moot.
Google has already admitted to copying 9 lines of code - they say inadvertently - and they removed these lines from Android. Potential liability for copying 9 lines of code: USD $0.00, as per Oracle's own expert's testimony.
The only question where Oracle might have won was the documentation. Oracle lost on that one.
Why does the title of this article state that the verdict is a "partial victory for Oracle" is very difficult to comprehend.
The way things are going, when all is said and done, Oracle won't even recoup the cost of litigation.