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Partial victory for Oracle in Java case

Google files for a mistrial

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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.

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