Google vs Oracle: Android does not infringe Java patents finds jury
Oracle’s charge hits the buffers, as the jury return with a favourable Google verdict on patents. But it seems that Oracle were nowhere near getting what they wanted
After another long slog debating, the jury in the Oracle vs.
Google case returned yesterday to give a patent verdict – finding
that Google had not infringed any Java patents in building Android
or the Dalvik Virtual Machine.
The decision pretty much means Oracle’s fairly vain and arduous
pursuit against Google for using Java patents within Android has
come to a shuddering halt, with only a miniscule amount of damages
set to be awarded to them – a huge markdown on the $6bn they were
seeking from the outset.
The jury have now been dismissed by Judge Alsup, after Oracle
went for broke on the patents phase, with both parties agreeing to
waive a jury trial on damages. The six-week trial was the longest
Judge Alsup had overseen in his career and he thanked the jury for
We’re still awaiting to hear from Alsup on the copyrightability
of the 37 Java APIs, which will determine the course of the trial
from here on in. The jury found previous copyright infringement in
Phase One of the mammoth trial. Currently, without that ruling,
Oracle have the sole nine lines of code found to be infringing,
getting statutory damages on each at $15,000 a pop. With a
favourable ruling from Alsup, Oracle could get a new jury and new
trial for dealing with copyright damages. But after today’s
verdict, you’d think the chances of that are slim to none.
The clerk read out the following in court, according to
Question 1: has Oracle proved by preponderance of evidence that
Claim 11: not proven
Question 2: not proven
Question 3: no answer, no response, not applicable.
Unanimous then. We also learned in the aftermath from
Ars Technica reporter Joe Mullin that only one juror favoured
Oracle in the patent phase, whilst in the copyright phase, we found
out that the jury was 9 to 3 in favour of Google. Jury foreman Greg
Thompson revealed all in a 20-minute chat to reporters, also
divulging that he was the lone standout for Oracle during both
“A lot of the jurors were focused on functionality versus
creativity,” said Thompson, with a majority “putting greater weight
This pretty much suggests that Oracle have lost big time, and
were never even remotely close to winning anything.
Google were hasty in releasing a succinct statement, immediately
after the verdict was read out, which read:
Today’s jury verdict that Android does not infringe
Oracle’s patents was a victory not just for Google but the entire
Indeed it does.
Oracle’s statement was defiant, if not steadfast,
Oracle presented overwhelming evidence at trial that
Google knew it would fragment and damage Java.
We plan to continue to defend and uphold Java’s core
write once run anywhere principle and ensure it is protected for
the nine million Java developers and the community that depend on
Is this the end then? Not really, with the statement above,
you’d expect Oracle to appeal, throwing yet more money into the
sinkhole. We still have the monumental API decision to be made as
well, which could prolong matters for all parties. But in summary,
it’s a good day for Google and hopefully a big day for Java
developers, with Oracle’s fight all but over now.
James Gosling offered his views on the case as a
The patent part of the case is finally
over, with Google acquitted on (almost) all counts.. The
happy part for me is that despite having been on the witness list
and gone through a bunch of prep work with lawyers, I didn’t
actually have to testify. Despite all the furor that went into this
one, it went out with a wimper. 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.
Let’s leave the final words to Linus Torvalds, who was typically
bullish and bang on with his views, posting this on Google+ not
long after the verdict was made:
Prediction: instead of Oracle coming out and admitting
they were morons about their idiotic suit against Android, they’ll
come out posturing and talk about how they’ll be vindicated, and
pay lawyers to take it to the next level of idiocy.
Sometimes I really wish I wasn’t always right. It’s a curse,
I tell you.