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Major Victory For Google In Oracle Vs Google Court Case

Google vs Oracle court case reached a milestone today as the jury gave its verdict. The verdict is clearly in favor of Google as in this phase Oracle gets nothing out of this expensive court case.

Jury gave a verdict that “Oracle has proved that Google has infringed the overall structure, sequence and organization of copyrighted works?” This verdict was based on an ‘assumption‘ that APIs can be copyrighted. They were instructed by the judge to “assume” that APIs can be copyrighted. Whether APIs can be copyrighted or not is a decision to be made by the judge.

As SJVN noted, “You see the jury, however, couldn’t decide if Google’s violations of Java and its application programming interfaces (API)s were actually OK because its use of them in Android fell under fair use. Ack!”

If the judge does decide that APIs can be copyrighted this will be damaging to the entire software world. Making APIs copyright-able will be as damaging as it software patent and will open new lawsuits, hindering innovation. So the decision on API will have a greater impact on the entire tech world than just Google. It must also be noted that Microsoft has been buying Netscape technologies from AOL, which also includes Javascript. Microsoft is a known abuser of the system and has been using bogus patent threats to attack Android players. If the judge rules that APIs are copyrighted Microsoft will open new attacks on competitors.

  • The Jury also found that Oracle “failed” to prove that Google infringed the documentation for the 37 Java API packages in question taken as a group.
  • The jury also found that Oracle proved that Google’s conceded use of the following was infringing — The rangeCheck method in TimSort.java and ComparableTimSort.Java.
  • But the jury did not find Google infringing sSource code in seven “Impl.java” files and the one “ACL” file.
  • The jury also found that Google did not infringe ‘The English-language comments in CodeSourceTest.java and CollectionCertStoreParameters Test.java’
  • The jury also found that Google proved 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
  • However, the jury did not found that Google proved 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? (This is seemingly based on the emails by Andy Rubin.)

9 Lines Copied, Damages: Zero
The jury found that Oracle “did not prove” that Google copied the documentation for the 37 APIs, and also found that Google’s use of source code eight files and the English-language comments in two other files were not infringement. Google did violate Oracle’s copyright on the range-check function, which had nine lines of code identical to that of Java. Google lawyer Robert Van Nest frequently referred to it as “nine lines out of 16,000.”

How much damages should Oracle get from these ‘nine’ lines of code? It could be less than the price of a cone of Belgian Fies.

The case is clearly in favor of Google. The only remaining piece is APIs, which many experts have already noted will have a much more damaging impact on the entire tech world if the judge rules them as copyright-able.

Groklaw’s PJ writes, “Don’t let anyone fool you. Today was a major victory for Google. That’s why after the jury left, our reporter says that Google’s table was laughing, and Oracle’s mighty glum. And I see some journalists are surprised or confused, because they have been listening to a steady flow of Oracle FUD from the wrong people. Remember the headlines about this being a $6 billion dollar case? It never was and now it never will be. Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs was reported to have visited the press room at the courthouse during the trial for a talk with the gathered journalists. So did a PR person from his firm. I mean, come on, fellas. And that doesn’t even count the huge stream of misinformation from … well, you know. And look at the outcome. Not what you were told to expect, is it? Live and learn, y’all. Live and learn. If a person is paid by Oracle, why would you take it as necessarily so? And here’s why the API decision matters so much.]”

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The trial has been divided in three phases — copyrights, patents and then damages.

Slideshow Image:
Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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