You Won’t Believe the Outcome of the Oracle-Google Case

A jury has decided Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) infringed Oracle’s (NASDAQ:ORCL) copyrights for developing its Android software, but couldn’t agree on whether it could be classified as fair use.

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The decision means Google will not have to redesign Android. It also means that Oracle can’t seek damages in any but nine lines of computer code out of 15 million total lines that the jury found were copied from Oracle.

The 12-member panel in San Francisco found that Google used Java, which the Oracle-owned Sun Microsystems had created, to develop the Android phone operating system now running on more than 300 million mobile devices. However, it couldn’t come to a unanimous verdict on whether Google made “fair use,” since Java is considered a free language. Oracle insists those parts of the language that Google used are covered by copyrights, and has asked for $1 billion in damages.

“There has been zero finding of liability on copyright, the issue of fair use is still in play,” Alsup said.

The next phase of the case, regarding two Java patents that Oracle says were infringed, will start now. The jury sent Alsup several notes during discussions, including one that asked what would happen if it was unable to come to a unanimous decision. The judge asked it to deliver a partial verdict in such a scenario.

The search engine leader also asked the judge on Monday to declare a mistrial because, it argued, the issues of infringement and fair use are directly linked. Judge William Alsup said he would consider the request later, but has ordered the next phase of the case to start.

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