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US jury finds Google's Android infringes Oracle's Java copyrights

Couldn't decide on Fair Use
Tue May 08 2012, 10:11

A US JURY has found that Google's Android infringes Oracle's copyrights on Java APIs, in the first stage of a high-stakes court battle between the two companies.

The verdict reached on Monday handed Oracle a partial victory in the first phase of its three-part trial against the internet giant. The jury in US District Court in San Francisco was charged with four questions about copyrights in Java code used in Android.

Despite reaching a unanimous decision on three issues, the jury reached a deadlock on part of the first question, that of infringement. The jury couldn't decide whether Google's use of Java APIs amounts to Fair Use under US copyright law.

Judge William Alsup has yet to rule on whether the Java APIs at issue are subject to copyright protection as a matter of law.

Following the verdict, Google argued that the partial verdict holds no value and requested a mistrial. It said, "We appreciate the jury's efforts, and know that fair use and infringement are two sides of the same coin. The core issue is whether the APIs here are copyrightable, and that's for the court to decide. We expect to prevail on this issue and Oracle's other claims."

Oracle thanked the jury for its verdict. In a statement, it said, "The overwhelming evidence demonstrated that Google knew it needed a license and that its unauthorised fork of Java in Android shattered Java's central write once run anywhere principle."

Although victorious in the jury's verdict on copyright infringement, Oracle seems unlikely to win substantial damages in the case. The trial between Oracle and Google is expected to continue for eight more weeks. µ


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