Google violated copyright, but no damages: jury

Google violated copyright, but no damages: jury

Google violated copyright, but no damages: jury

A jury in a high-profile technology case ruled today that Google violated copyrights owned by Oracle Corp for the Android mobile platform, but failed to agree on whether damages should be awarded.

In a partial verdict, jurors were unable to decide on a key point of whether Google's use of copyrighted Java software was "fair use" that made it acceptable. The verdict prevents any potential for an Oracle windfall, but the case between the two tech titans now moves to another phase on whether Oracle's patents were violated.

"There has been zero finding of liability on any copyright so far," US District Court Judge William Alsup told the rival attorneys after the jury left his San Francisco courtroom.

"The affirmative defense of fair use is still in play." The jury, which had been struggling to reach a unanimous decision, concluded that Google infringed on the copyrighted programming language for a portion of Java known as RangeCheck. But it also agreed that Google demonstrated that it was led to believe it did not need a license for using Java.

Oracle attorneys who originally said they would accept whatever damages were dictated by the law regarding that portion of the case switched position and asked for jurors to determine the monetary compensation.

Alsup said, however, that "it borders on the ridiculous to say that with nine lines of code you are going to even get a percentage as damages," in an Android platform with 15 million lines of code.

Oracle accused Google of infringing on Java computer programming language patents and copyrights Oracle obtained when it bought Java inventor Sun Microsystems in a USD 7.4 billion deal in 2009.

Google has denied the claims and said it believes mobile phone makers and other users of its open-source Android operating system are entitled to use the Java technology in dispute.

The trial is being conducted in separate phases to address copyright and then patent infringement accusations by Oracle. The Internet titan unveiled the free Android operating system two years before Oracle bought Sun.

Oracle's challenge of Google in court over copyrights was an unusual tactic that being watched intently in Silicon Valley. In the fast-paced land of Internet innovation, it has been common for software writers to put their own spins on application programming interfaces that mini-programs use to "talk" to one another.

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