In an intellectual property trial that was held between Google and Oracle in California over Android software, the jury found in favor of Google in the second phase of the three-phase trial. Oracle had claimed that Google committed patent infringement by stealing two patents for their Java programming language. All 10 of the jury members made the decision unanimously this month that no patent infringement had occurred.
On May 7, the search engine giant lost the battle in the first phase of the trial when the jury decided that they had indeed infringed on copyrights owned by Oracle. They ruled that Google had infringed copyrights on nine different lines of code when they used similar language to the Java language used by Sun Microsystem.
Oracle acquired Sun in 2010, and it was soon after when the database software maker company filed a lawsuit against Google. Google reportedly said they would seek a mistrial. Because the jury deadlocked on the issue of fair use, Oracle may be unable to seek as much as $1 billion worth of damages that they report the search engine giant caused.
The third phase of the trial will begin on Tuesday, May 29, following the Memorial Day holiday weekend. It will be at this time when the damages will be determined. Experts for both Google and Oracle had estimated that each of the two patents would have been valued between $3 and $4 million had the jury found Google guilty of patent infringement.
When programming is part of a business — in or outside of California — the risk of another company using similar codes is high. This is especially true when your business is as successful as Google and Oracle and employs thousands of software developers who often switch job positions or transfer corporations. When another business or individual commits patent infringement, legal action can be pursued to attempt to recover any damages and to hold the other accountable for the misuse of the intellectual property.
Source: Bloomberg, “Google Android Didn’t Infringe Oracle Patents, Jury Says,” Karen Gullo, May 23, 2012