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No Patent Infringement Found In Oracle vs. Google 234

sl4shd0rk writes "Today, the jury in the Oracle vs. Google trial found no infringement of patents by Google. The jury deliberated about 30 minutes to reach the verdict, bringing an end to the second phase of the trial, and a beginning to the damage phase, which may be very little of what Oracle originally asked for. Still no word on API copyright issues. Judge Alsup will be ruling on that in the near future, and it will certainly have an impact on the developer community."
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No Patent Infringement Found In Oracle vs. Google

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  • by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:13PM (#40092113) Journal

    The Jury was leaning heavily on them not being copyrightable anyway. See: https://twitter.com/FedcourtJunkie/status/205370887078285313 [twitter.com]

    We all just interviewed juror, who said jury was split 9-3 for google on copyright fair use. Um, wow.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:14PM (#40092125)

    It doesn't matter anyway. There were only nine lines of copied code and the only reason it was there is because the guy that submitted it originally to openJDK is the same guy that put it in Android. The judge learned java for this trial and even he said he could have wrote rangeCheck in a few minutes and had even done so accidentally many times.

    Suck it, Oracle. You lose. Good day, sir!

  • by gus goose ( 306978 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:17PM (#40092187) Journal

    Hmmm... Thursday last week till today... that's a about 30 minutes according to Oracle's 'simulations' ... ;-)

  • by zjbs14 ( 549864 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:18PM (#40092195) Homepage
    The jury has been deliberating on the patent infringement since last Wednesday. Not sure where the submitter for the 30 minutes from.
  • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:19PM (#40092201)
    According to that Groklaw link in TFA, the jury has been dismissed and there will be no damages phase.

    Our reporter provides this:

    Clerk: Question 1: has Oracle proved by preponderance of evidence that Google infringed?

    Claim 11: not proven 27: no 29: no 39: no 40: no 41: no

    Question 2: not proven 1: no 20: no

    Question 3: no answer, no response, not applicable.

    Unanimous. The jury is dismissed. There will be no damages phase for them to endure.

  • by zjbs14 ( 549864 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:22PM (#40092251) Homepage
    They were deliberating since last week. Summary was wrong.
  • by hedronist ( 233240 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:26PM (#40092317)
    I don't know where this "30 minutes" number came from. Maybe it was 30 minutes today, but all together it was at least 2 or 3 days, maybe even 4.

    It's interesting to note that the only reason it took them that long was because the jury foreman was the only hold out in favor of Oracle. Apparently he was the one responsible for many of the questions that the jury kept sending to the judge.

    Anyway, glad this is (almost) over. The only real thing left is for Judge Alsup to determine if the APIs are copyrightable at all. My personal bet is that he will rule that they are not and that this will drive a stake through the heart of Oracle and (hopefully) Larry Ellison.

    But as PJ at GrokLaw keeps telling us: never make a bet on a legal ruling.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:32PM (#40092399)

    Kudos to the jury. They put a lot of effort into understanding the issue at hand. Based on courtroom reporting, the jury paid attention and they asked clarifying questions while deliberating to make sure they understood. Software patents are a mess. Oracle's arguments were terrible from a CS standpoint (and their expert should be embarrassed).

    I believe the only issue still on the table is API copyrightability which Judge Aslup will rule on as a matter of law. The jury found for Oracle in that instance because the jury instructions essentially mandated it. I expect Aslup will rule for Google on that claim as well.

    Oracle's current claim for money is literally for 9 lines of code called rangeCheck (which anyone in a high school intro to java class could write), and 8 test files copied by a subcontractor and never distrusted to end users.

    A certain Oracle paid blogger will still manage to post how Oracle basically got everything it wanted.

  • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:34PM (#40092425)

    If it gets ruled that API's are copyrightable then this creates a whole new can of worms that will send many industries into absolute chaos.

    If it gets ruled that API's are not copyrightable then it is business as usual.

  • Re:He said she said. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:35PM (#40092431)

    Actually, Oracle's expert had even said that Google did not infringe, because to find for infringement required the use of symbolic references. Google uses numeric references, and Oracle's expert noted that in his report. When cornered, he "changed his mind" and said that numeric references (i.e. references to specific memory locations) are just a form of symbolic references (i.e. references to memory by name that is later cross-referenced to a memory location).

    It seems that the jury must have believed Oracle's witness initial report and not his later re-interpretation of said report.

  • by phoenix_rizzen ( 256998 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:44PM (#40092527)

    Oracle started with 7 or 9 patents that they thought were worth $6 billion in damages/licensing/royalties/whatever.

    All but 2 of the patents ('104 and '520) were found to be invalid and rejected by the USPTO. The '104 patent was found to be preliminarily invalid after the trial started.

    And now Oracle is leaving with nothing but a huge invoice from the lawyers ... the same lawyers who lost the SCO trial(s). (Go figure.)

  • No damages phase (Score:4, Informative)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @04:27PM (#40093053)

    There's still going to be a damages phase, but the numbers likely to be involved are so small that the sides agreed that the judge could set the damages himself,

    That's actually not certain until we have the ruling on the SSO copyright. Per the May 16 Stipulation and Order, one of two things will happen:

    1. Alsup will rule the SSO's aren't protected by copyright, in which case rangeCheck and the copied test files are the only infringements to consider. In that event, both parties have waived trial by jury and Oracle has waived any claim to actual damages or infringers profits, and Alsup will set an award for statutory damages only, and the trial will be done. (And the appeals will start.)

    2. Alsup will rule that the SSO are copyrightable, in which case neither party has waived jury trial on any portion of the copyright damages, and the parties have agreed to a two-part trial on the SSO Claim damages (and, it seems, a separate part covering rangeCheck and the test files), so it looks like in that case there would be a three-phase trial on damages with a whole new jury.

  • by Sesostris III ( 730910 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @04:33PM (#40093121)
    The judge in this case is also aware of the recent EU Court of Justice ruling, and asked to be briefed by both sides.

    See http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120503175821298 [groklaw.net]
  • by RatherBeAnonymous ( 1812866 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @04:36PM (#40093151)
    If you recall, 2-3 weeks ago the jury ruled that Google had violated Oracle's copyrights on the Java API's. The caveat being that it is not established in US law whether or not API's are protected by copyright. The judge instructed the jury to deliberate as is API's are protected by copyright. Now, we are just waiting on the judge's ruling as to whether or not API's are protected by copyright. If he rules that they are not, which I personally expect will be the ruling, then the jury's ruling on the API copyright issue will be moot. This was the copyright issue mentioned in the article, not the rangeCheck code, which is apparently a non-issue.
  • by RatherBeAnonymous ( 1812866 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @04:43PM (#40093227)
    Nope, this is not about rangeCheck, it is about the earlier jury ruling that Google had violated copyright laws by duplicating the Java API. The judge still has to rule on whether or not API's are protected by copyright.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/05/jury-rules-google-violated-copyright-law-google-moves-for-mistrial/ [arstechnica.com]

    "In what could be a major blow to Android, Google's mobile operating system, a San Francisco jury issued a verdict today that the company broke copyright laws when it used Java APIs to design the system. The ruling is a partial victory for Oracle, which accused Google of violating copyright law."

    'Google spokesman Jim Prosser responded to the verdict quickly, saying via e-mail: "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."'
  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:33PM (#40093757)

    Sadly, this spin has already been played over and over by the media. Somehow, a loss for Oracle in court is always deemed a "partial victory".. if you read the right articles.

    I'd recommend that you spend some time on Groklaw and read reviews by legal people on what these rulings really mean. While Groklaw is pro-opensource, their articles are pretty straight views of our legal system. Enough commentary is covered by people (many of which are Lawyers) to fill in gaps, and of course "can" be more biased.

    Many of these same magazines claimed that SCO was going to prevail over IBM, and every loss was a "Partial Victory". Groklaw was dead on, though it took a very long time for the courts to finally get things sorted out.

    Oh, and if you look back further many of these same magazines claimed that Microsoft had countless "partial victories" in the EU anti-trust case, the Iowa anti-trust case, and the US DOJ anti-trust case. See any trends you may wish to not follow?

  • by Forever Wondering ( 2506940 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @11:57PM (#40096665)

    That depends on whether they assigned the copyright along with the submission. If they had already assigned the copyright to Sun (as I believe was required to have it accepted), then they would no longer have the right to submit it anywhere else. Such is the stupid world we live in, which is why I can easily believe that a developer would have forgotten they did it, especially on such a trivial function.

    Your point is well taken, so I did some checking. openJDK submissions require that you accept the "Oracle Contributor Agreement" [nee Sun]. From that document:

    2. With respect to any worldwide copyrights, or copyright applications and registrations, in your contribution:

    - you hereby assign to us joint ownership, and to the extent that such assignment is or becomes invalid, ineffective or unenforceable, you hereby grant to us a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide, no-charge, royalty-free, unrestricted license to exercise all rights under those copyrights. This includes, at our option, the right to sublicense these same rights to third parties through multiple levels of sublicensees or other licensing arrangements;

    - you agree that each of us can do all things in relation to your contribution as if each of us were the sole owners, and if one of us makes a derivative work of your contribution, the one who makes the derivative work (or has it made) will be the sole owner of that derivative work;

    - you agree that you will not assert any moral rights in your contribution against us, our licensees or transferees;

    - you agree that we may register a copyright in your contribution and exercise all ownership rights associated with it; and

    - you agree that neither of us has any duty to consult with, obtain the consent of, pay or render an accounting to the other for any use or distribution of your contribution.

    The first two clauses appear to cover it. The joint ownership clause seems mostly concerned that any submission grants rights to Sun/Oracle to use the code. But, the original submitter retains parallel rights [as long as they don't try to revoke Oracle's right]. The derivative work clause implies that either party may make a derivative work without consulting the other and gets full rights to the new work.

    Thus, giving the rangeCheck function to Android is allowed by this agreement under either of these two clauses.

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