Oracle May Still Receive $1 Billion Worth of Justice in Google Case

During the intellectual property lawsuit between Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Oracle failed to convince the presiding judge that Google unfairly used its technology in Android software for mobile devices. But Google could be liable for as much as $1 billion depending on a decision regarding fair use.

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U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco denied Oracle’s request for a ruling that could have established that Google is liable for copyright infringement. Oracle asked Alsup for a judgment in its favor on fair use. The request follows the jury’s verdict on May 7, which found that Google infringed parts of its Java programming language. However, the jury was deadlocked on whether the copying constituted fair use. Alsup said that liability rests on whether there was fair use.

The decision regarding fair use could be the beginning of a new trial on the question of whether Google’s infringement makes it liable for as much as $1 billion in damages for using parts of Java to develop Android without paying for a license. Under legal doctrine, the concept of fair use states that anyone can use copyrighted work without consent of the owner under certain circumstances, such as for teaching, in news reporting and commentary, or to advance the public interest by creating something new.

The jury’s verdict on May 7 came in the first phase of the eight-week trial that began April 16. This week, the jury will be hearing testimony on Oracle’s claims that Google also infringed two Java patents. The last phase of the trial will deal with damages.

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