May 23 AT 1:37 PM Sean Riley 26 Comments

Jury rules in favor of Google in the Oracle patent trial

Oracle vs. Google

The jury has ruled that Google did not infringe on Oracle’s patents in what has been referred to by the presiding Judge as the “World Series of Intellectual Property cases.”

The potential ramifications of an Oracle win in this case were dire in the eyes of many Java developers, so this news will likely be celebrated by many outside the Android community as well.

While the jury’s ruling precludes Google paying any damages on this part of the claim this does still leave the other question which the Judge took off the table for the jury and that is whether the Java APIs that Google used can be copyrighted at all. Google and Oracle will be submitting briefs to the Judge on that question today, but there is no timeline for the Judge to make a ruling on that question at the moment.

This is certainly a great day for Google’s legal team, but in all likelihood we will see this decision appealed so it’s not quite time to break out the champagne yet.

Via: The Verge

Sean has been with Android and Me for over 5 years and covering mobile for the last 6. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • halo0

    Oracle’s claims were patently ridiculous.

    • SGB101

      Nevermind Oracle’s claims, apple’s are ridiculous……….

      • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

        I’m sorry but the square around your 81 AndroidAndMe points is a rectangle and the O in “Oracle” that you typed is circular. I’m suing you.

        • SGB101

          Sorry il rectify it ASAP

    • http://www.mlswanson.com SparkyXI

      How *dare* you patent… wait for it… MATH!

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    Woohoo!! Not that I’m a guy who wishes ill upon companies but I REALLY don’t like Oracle, and for much more reason than just this. Ever hear of Hudson? Oracle really tried screwing people over on that too!

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    So the original article said both that the jurors were dismissed yet says the case will continue on Tuesday. What is there to continue on Tuesday if the trial is over?

    • AppleFUD

      The damages phase. The lawyers agreed to let the judge handle the damages phase thus the jury can go. However, the judge still needs to rule on the matter, are APIs valid for copyright.

      • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

        Gotcha. Forgot about the copyright. So this sound right?

        1. Oracle previously “won” a ruling that, if APIs are copyrightable then Google violated that copyright.
        2. Google wins that there was no patent infringement.
        3. (to come) Judge decides specifically on if APIs are copyrightable.
        4. (to come) Judge decides how much Google owes Oracle for a) copyright infringement (pending point 3) and b) patent infringement (which was dismissed today, so $0 is owed for this now).

        That sound right?

        • Dags

          There’s also 3a) If judge decides that APIs are copyrightable, does the use of these APIs in Android fall under “fair use” provisions.

  • spazby

    awesome. google can hopefully concentrate on what to do with motorola.

  • McLovin

    I always admired Sun MicroSystems. To me they were the premier tech company, the Google of the 80s, 90s, 2000s. It was a very sad day after the acquisition by Oracle.

  • Darkseider

    Common sense would dictate that the judge in this case will rule that APIs are NOT copyrightable simply due to the fact that a language cannot be copyrighted and an API is an extension to that language. Another factor in this decision is that the EU high courts ruled that APIs are not copyrightable and while we do not base our laws on that of the EU it is something to consider seeing that foreign software companies will be very hesitant to do anything in or near the U.S. if the judge ruled that they were. Simply put I believe Oracle will lose every claim which means that Larry won’t get his new yacht. Serves him right for being a greedy asshole.

    • CTown

      What I don’t understand isn’t the Java API supposedly just a more verbose and wordy version of the C++ API? Is it really creative enough to sue others over?

  • Trinhbo

    The main issue was that the APIs that were “copied” were considered trivial in nature such as range check functions that every developer has written a million times before. It’s basically:

    if (value maxValue)
    return error;
    else

    There aren’t really many more efficient ways of writing a range check function so what do you gain by patenting them? The judge was a programmer and understood that.

    I’m glad the jury decided as they did and we can finally move on with our lives. These stupid patent lawsuits just impede real innovation instead of trying to simply protect true “intellectual property”.

    • Trinhbo

      Sorry, the XML characters in my last post got scrubbed. It should have read:

      if (value < minValue || value > maxValue)
      return error;
      else
      <do something>

    • Dags -

      That’s not an example of an API. The API’s are the interface, not the implementation. This: http://docs.oracle.com/javase/1.5.0/docs/api/.

      The rangeCheck function was related to a separate part of the trial – it was an example of actual code, ie. implementation, that Google copied line for line. Unfortunately for Oracle, even the judge could see in this case that that particular function is trivial.

  • McLovin

    This whole “software patent” business needs to be re-evaluated.

    * Where the boundary between patentable and non-patentable software should lie;
    * Whether the inventive step and non-obviousness requirement is applied too loosely to software; and
    * Whether patents covering software discourage, rather than encourage, innovation.

    See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patent
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_software_patents
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patent_debate

    Here is a very good introduction to the problem with software patents, ala Software Patents for Dummies…

    http://frugaldad.com/patents/

  • LittleGreenDude

    Yes!!! Let’s hope the jury will find Apple’s claims equally ridiculous. Cause they are.

  • jamal adam

    Came out of class and checked out Android and Me to find this. What a great day. Now time for some Ultimate Frisbee.

  • redraider133

    Good to see the Jury ruled in this way, at least one less lawsuit Google and android have to worry about

  • Skis03

    Patent wars in general are just getting out of hand.

  • Kindroid

    I never noticed how much Larry Ellison looked like Lucifer (the devil).