The lawsuit between Oracle and Google over the use of Java in Android is in the books. Oracle scored some points and prevailed on at least one narrow point of the dispute, as time has run out, the scoreboard is lopsided in Google’s favor.
Google infringes on Oracle’s copyrights to Java
Asked to decide whether Google had infringed upon Oracle’s copyrights to certain parts of the Java programming language, the jury agreed that it had. But then, when asked to decide on four specific examples of that infringement, jurors could agree on only one: The rangeCheck method in TimSort.java and ComparableTimSort.java. Don’t ask me to explain exactly what it is, but it is being described widely as “nine lines of code.” And, unfortunately for Oracle, the damages it can collect are limited to somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 to $200,000, or less than pocket change for either company, not the $1 billion or more Oracle had said it wanted.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison testified along with Google CEO Larry Page
Initially billed as the “World Series of intellectual property cases,” this trial had lots of bold-faced names on the witness stand, including Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Google CEO Larry Page, plus Scott McNealy and Jonathan Schwartz, both former.
Google allegedly copied 37 of Oracle’s Java APIs
Oracle’s lawsuit, filed two years ago, accused Google of violating Java patents and copyrights in its Android operating system. The main issue at trial was whether Google had copied 37 of Oracle’s Java APIs (application programming interfaces) in its Android OS. But the judge ruled in May that the APIs were not eligible for copyright protection under U.S. law. Meanwhile, the jury found that Google had not infringed Oracle’s patents. The Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent law, is hearing the case because Oracle also had claimed patent infringement. Oracle isn’t appealing the jury loss on that issue. A decision on the copyright claims isn’t expected for several months.