The law suit in which Oracle claimed that Google infringed upon the patents held by the former was recently quashed by a court in a trial in which Oracle sough nearly a billion dollars in damages.
It was unanimously ruled yesterday by a 10 person jury that neither of the two patents in question had been infringed upon by Google as alleged by Oracle. However, it was found by the jurors that copyrights held by Oracle had been infringed by Google, but were unable to arrive on a unanimous decision on whether it was fair use or not. This means that the $1 billion which Oracle originally sought in damages would no longer be applicable and the court order forbidding Google from further distribution of the Android OS would also no longer be valid.
An intellectual property attorney and teaching fellow at Stanford Law School, Brain Love, said that the copyright issues in the lawsuit were far more important than the patent part of the trial as the latter were not worth as much. He added however that the jury decision emphasized that the trial is not going Oracle’s way.
The jury had earlier found that nine lines of Oracle code had been copied by Google in its mobile operating system, which however has over 15 million lines of code. The presiding judge in the case said that these findings do not entitle Oracle to large sums of money in damages and the most that company will be allowed to seek is $150,000 as it is the most permissible by law. Love said that this amount would not even be sufficient to cover the legal fees that Oracle spends in a day on the case.
William Alsup, a U.S. District Judge said that a ruling would be passed next week on the issue of whether or not the software tools at the crux of this case and the Java application programming interfaces of Oracle are copyrightable. If the ruling is in favor of copyrighting the software, it would enable the company to seek higher amounts in damages, though a ruling that they can’t be copyrighted would deal a further blow to Oracle. The judge will also rule on Oracle’s petition to quash the patent verdict of the jury.