Android trial: jury finds no clear answer

At the same time, however, they disagreed as to whether this might have been covered by the principle of "fair use" and thus not punishable by law. After the jury’s decision was announced on monday, google filed a motion to declare the trial a failure in light of the unclear situation. Observers assume that oracle has little chance of winning the billions in damages it is seeking in this instance. The trial has now entered its second phase, which is concerned with possible patent infringements. In a third part, oracle’s claims for damages are to be decided.

Oracle accuses google of infringing patents and copyrights for java with android. Java is a software platform, on which programs for different purposes and also for different operating systems can be set up. Java was originally developed by sun microsystems. Oracle had taken over sun and with it the rights to java in 2010. Google refuses to acknowledge any infringement of copyrights and also denies oracle the right to use the patents in question against android.

The jury had to decide whether google had infringed copyrights of 37 so-called apis, i.E. Software interfaces that can be used to access java techniques. They recognized the clearest infringement case: a developer had transferred nine lines of software code. Google had also acknowledged this and removed it from current android versions. But since we are talking about nine of a total of millions of lines of programming code, oracle’s demand for billions of dollars could hardly be met.

At the same time, the decision could still become an important precedent for the american IT industry. Because with their answer the jury presupposed that apis can be protected by copyright in general. There has been a fundamental discussion about this for years now.

The jury had to answer all questions unanimously. They deliberated for five days. The question of whether oracle had proven unlawful access by google to technical documentation on the apis was answered with a no.

Oracle had originally estimated its own damages at more than six billion dollars, but was later forced to scale down its claims to around one billion dollars. Before the trial began, judge william alsup tried to force the companies to reach an out-of-court settlement. However, the discussions remained inconclusive. The trial made headlines at the beginning because the two company ceos larry ellison and larry page, as well as other well-known managers and software developers, testified in it.

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