Verdict: Google Infringes Oracle Java, Jury Deadlocked on Fair Use Argument

Monday, May 7, 2012
By OP Editor

Jury reached a verdict on the first phase of Oracle Java vs. Google Android trial today.

Oracle Google logo

The verdict about the copyright phrase of the trial was mixed. Mercury News:

“While rejecting some allegations brought by Oracle, the jury found that the code in two files and the structure and design of certain elements in Android, known as Application Programming Interfaces or APIs, were substantially similar to APIs used in Oracle’s copyrighted Java programming tools.

But jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on Google’s argument that using the APIs was justified under a legal concept that permits ‘fair use’ of short excerpts from a copyrighted work under certain circumstances.”

Basically, despite Google engineer basically admitting Android infringement, either side convinced the jury that the infringement is willful infringement or fair use.

Here’s the verdict that ZDNet published, the jury is stuck on 1B:

1. As to the compilable code for the 37 Java API packages in question taken as a group:

A. Has Oracle proven that Google has infringed the overall structure, sequence and organization of copyrighted works?

YES __________ No __________

(IF YOU ANSWER “NO” TO QUESTION 1A, THEN SKIP TO QUESTION NO. 2.)

B. Has Google proven that its use of the overall structure, sequence and organization constituted “fair use”?

Yes __________ No __________

2. As to the documentation for the 37 Java API packages in question taken as a group:

A. Has Oracle proven that Google has infringed?

Yes __________ NO __________

(IF YOU ANSWER “NO” TO QUESTION 2A, THEN SKIP TO QUESTION NO. 3.)

B. Has Google proven that its use of Oracle’s Java documentation constituted “fair use”?

Yes __________ No __________

3. Has Oracle proven that Google’s conceded use of the following was infringing, the only issue being whether such use was de minimis:

A. The rangeCheck method in TimSort.java and ComparableTimSort.Java

(Infringing) (Not Infringing)

YES __________ No __________

B. Source code in seven “Impl.java” files and the one “ACL” file

(Infringing) (Not Infringing)

Yes __________ NO __________

C. The English-language comments in CodeSourceTest.java and CollectionCertStoreParametersTest.java

(Infringing) (Not Infringing)

Yes __________ NO __________

4. Answer the following special interrogatories only if you answer “yes” to Question 1A.

A. Has Google proven that Sun and/or Oracle engaged in conduct Sun and/or Oracle knew or should have known would reasonably lead Google to believe that it would not need a license to use the structure, sequence, and organization of the copyrighted compilable code?

YES __________ No __________

B. If so, has Google proven that it in fact reasonably relied on such conduct by Sun and/or Oracle in deciding to use the structure, sequence, and organization of the copyrighted compilable code without obtaining a license?

Yes __________ NO __________

Your answers to Questions 4A and 4B will be used by the judge with issues he must decide. Questions 4A and 4B do not bear on the issues you must decide on Questions 1 to 3.

However, in the patent phase of the trial that started today, Oracle’s lawyer Jacobs said “There is no fair use defense” for patent infringement.

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