Google did not infringe on any Oracle patents when it used Java software in the Android operating system, a federal jury said last week.
The verdict, reached in U.S. District Court, leaves Oracle with a relatively small claim of copyright infringement, making it almost certain that the judge will not demand a harsh penalty from Google.
That would be a mild end to what at one time seemed to be a major case between two of the largest companies in computer technology. Oracle, which picked up the Java software language when it bought Sun Microsystems, accused Google of violating both patent and copyright protections in developing Android, now the world’s most popular smartphone operating system.
If Google had lost on several counts of the case, it could have been subject to severe fines or been forced to let Oracle in on future developments of Android.
“It’s a full win for us,” said Jim Prosser, a Google spokesman. “If you look at what has happened in this case so far, they didn’t have much.”
Deborah Hellinger, an Oracle spokeswoman, issued a statement saying: “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 9 million Java developers and the community that depend on Java compatibility.”
The case became notable for the star power of its witnesses, as both Oracle’s chief executive, Lawrence J. Ellison, and Google’s chief executive, Larry Page, took the stand. Evidence also included several embarrassing emails from Google executives discussing whether they needed to seek a software license for Java.
Earlier this month, the jury found that Google had violated Oracle’s copyright, but only on a few lines of code, out of millions of lines in Android. Other copyright claims were, like Wednesday’s patent claims, unconvincing to the jury.
While Oracle may appeal the verdict, there is still another wrinkle in the trial. The judge must still rule on whether or not application programming interfaces, or APIs, can be copyrighted.
SAN FRANCISCO–A jury today unanimously decided that Google did not infringe on two of Oracle’s patents.
In the decision at the U.S. District Court of Northern California, the jury in the trial said Google did not infringe on six claims in U.S. Patent No. RE38,104 as well as two claims in U.S. Patent No. 6,061,520.
The verdict is a win for Google, and marks the end of the trial’s second phase, which focused on the claims of patent infringement. Closing arguments in the case were made last week. After the decision, a third phase–centering on damages–was canceled.