Jury kicks Oracle java case where it hurts

A jury took 30 minutes to work out that Google did not infringe on Oracle’s Java patents.

According to the HuffPo, in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, the jury decided that Google did not infringe on six claims in U.S. Patent No. RE38,104 as well as two claims in U.S. Patent No. 6,061,520.

The verdict is a win for Google, and marks the end of the trial’s second phase.

The ruling means that the jury can go home and not have to listen to a third case on damages.

Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court of Northern California dismissed the jurors, while noting that it was the longest civil trial he had seen.

Alsup added that he would decide a related copyright issue within the case, which remains unresolved. In the copyright phase of the trial, the jury returned a partial verdict, which gave a thumbs up to Oracle.

What yesterday’s verdict means is that Android does not infringe Oracle’s patents.

Oracle told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement that it would defend and uphold Java’s core write once run and ensure it is protected for the nine million Java developers and the community that depend on Java compatibility.

The ruling does considerable damages to Oracle and will probably mean that it will go home with a few thousand dollars in damages rather than the several billion it planned originally.

The jury found that Android infringed on nine lines of Java coding, but the penalty for that violation is confined to statutory damages no higher than $150,000.

Alsup has yet to rule on whether the law even allows APIs to be copyrighted. If Alsup finds APIs can be copyrighted, Oracle could still pursue a portion of Google’s Android profits, but obtaining a large award might still be difficult. The jury could not decide if Google had “fair-use” of the code. That might require another trial.