Google has steered clear from the Java patent infringement case filed by Oracle Corp after the jury were in complete agreement in their verdict that Oracle failed to show incriminating evidence against the use of Java in Google’s mobile operating system, Android.
Oracle’s lawsuit against Google already showed lackluster right after its filing, with long-drawn-out and frequently comic pretrial proceedings, which left petty grounds of Oracle’s case to remain firm on its stand. Even so, the business software giant followed through and invested time and effort at the case, but the jury now has returned verdict that Google is not infringing Java patents in its Android OS as alleged.
Judge William Alsup, the presiding officer who oversees the case, has yet to deliver a ruling on whether APIs of the Java programming language have copyright protection, but US legal precedents hint of a non-copyrightable patent ruling.
Based on Groklaw’s report, the first phase of the trial prevented the jury from making a verdict, as they split nine to three in favor of Google on copyright fair use, with the jury foreman holding out for Oracle for some time while in the Java patent infringement stage. Both firms’ legal teams agreed not to tackle the issue of damages on the third phase.
“Today’s jury verdict that Android does not infringe Oracle’s patents was a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem,” said Google in a statement.
However, James Gosling – widely recognized as the main man on the development of Java while it was under the roof at Sun Microsystems and before Oracle purchased the company – voiced out sentiments on his preferred verdict.
According to Gosling, the Java patent infringement case “went out with a whimper”, and added, “Court cases are never about right and wrong, they’re about the law and what you can convince a jury of. For those of us at Sun who felt trampled-on and abused by Google’s callous self-righteousness, I would have preferred a different outcome – not from the court case as much as from events of years past.”
As for Oracle’s infamous, hefty damage claims, of which many came up thanks to notional amounts repeatedly revised downwards as if looking for an incontestable amount, the firm will have to prepare itself on whatever potluck the court will give it to pay legal fees. The right to appeal is not deprived from Oracle so it may opt to do that, but at present Google and software developers have found a reason to celebrate.