Google wins patent verdict in Oracle trial

“A federal jury said Wednesday that Google Inc. didn’t infringe Oracle Corp. patents that protect Oracle’s Java technology, handing Google an incremental victory in the companies’ ongoing trial,” Dow Jones/NewsCore reports.

“Oracle sued Google in August 2010, alleging that Google’s Android mobile phone software infringes patents and copyrights that protect Java,” Dow Jones/NewsCore reports. “The verdict delivered Wednesday marks the end of the second, patent phase of the trial, with a third phase yet to come that will determine whatever damages Google may owe. The first part of the trial, which had covered Oracle’s claims that Google infringed copyrights that protect Java, ended with a mixed verdict.”

Dow Jones/NewsCore reports, “An Oracle spokeswoman said in a statement, ‘Oracle presented overwhelming evidence at trial that Google knew it would fragment and damage Java. We plan to continue to defend and uphold Java’s core write once run anywhere principle and ensure it is protected.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What’d they do for this phase, reconvene the O.J. jury?

Florian Mueller explains for FOSS Patents, “Before this trial started, it had already become crystal clear that the copyright part of the case was going to be the important one, not the patents. It would have been desirable — but less than secondary — for Oracle to prevail on its patent claims.”

“Oracle itself made this set of priorities perfectly clear when it offered in mid-January to stay, or dismiss without prejudice, all of its patent claims in favor of a near-term copyright trial,” Mueller reports. “This just didn’t happen because Judge Alsup wanted to ensure that all claims be adjudicated together. But the mere fact that Oracle officially made such an offer shows that the importance of the patent part of the case is very, very limited.”

Mueller writes, “A jury trial on patent infringement is a lottery since anyone who really would have the knowledge that is needed to understand the issue typically gets excluded. Also, different juries have different tendencies. Google was very lucky with this jury. The fact that Judge Alsup had to overrule the jury on one copyright liability item shows that this is a jury that erred in Google’s favor. And the fact that the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict on ‘fair use’ is, besides issues with the related jury instructions, another sign of this jury simply having been very defendant-friendly, even to the point of making a decision that Judge Alsup concluded ‘no reasonably jury could’ make.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Average member of the jury (and by calling them “average,” we’re being extremely charitable): “Duh, Google, we heard of them. Use ’em everyday (except for that Google+ thing). Oracle? What’s that?”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Jury finds Google infringed on some Oracle Java copyrights – May 7, 2012
Oracle: Google execs ‘knew this day would come’ – April 30, 2012
Oracle’s slideshow alleging how Google copied Java – April 18, 2012
No settlement: Oracle and Google will go to trial on April 16th – April 2, 2012

37 Comments

  1. Google found the jury with their Android phones and using their unique user ID numbers, made an offer they could not refuse. Just a little code and history rewriting on the Internet for each unsatisfied vote against Google !
    😉

  2. Gruber made a good point about this yesterday:

    How could a randomly-selected jury possibly decide this? […] there’s a difference between a jury of your citizen peers and a jury of your technical peers.

    1. Do you think Google could use its data to advise lawyers on the profiles of prospective jurors to find people who are likely to be predisposed to this type of outcome? It is a scary thought.

    2. The jury was not *randomly* selected. Oracle’s lawyers were a part of the process and could have raised an exception to any juror during selection.

      the reason why Jurors are not from the technical field is because in the courts mind this would lend to a jury that is not impartial. That is why both sides call experts to explain the technical side to the jury.

      I can respect Grubers question and I’ve wondered about it myself in other cases but after learning a bit about the law I now understand why it is the way it is.

  3. This is where a jury of your peers needs to be closely examined. Who would actually be the peers in this situation? Certainly not your average jury. It makes no sense to actually exclude the potential jury members who might actually understand what they’re being asked to judge on.

      1. No, they were home schooled and don’t understand science- starting with evolution.

        God told them Google didn’t copy it because they prayed real hard about it.

        1. You have no idea what science is and obviously can’t separate it from metaphysical or methodological naturalism, which are philosophical standpoints not scientific ones. Oddly enough you apparently don’t believe in God, yet in previous posts can’t bring yourself to refer to Him in a non-stupid manner. It’s almost as if you hate something you don’t think exists, which isn’t very rational is it? And thus you are reduced to rather pathetic mockery. I mean really – is this the best you can do? It’s not even relevant to the topic, so you obviously have some massive chip on your shoulder don’t you? I respectfully advise you read some scholarly material, not just blindly accept Dawkins et al’s simplistic ramblings like so many atheist sheep. And grow up a little.

          1. Ahh, the invisible man is rather testy today isn’t he. You should feel lucky that your mom and dad encouraged you to play with your imaginary friends rather than send you to the looney bin.

            1. You’re just reinforcing my point. Still, resorting to lazy stereotyping is much easier than doing any actual thinking isn’t it? Do they breed you lot in a factory or something?

          2. As soon as you dissed Dawkins you lost my respect. This man is perhaps the most rational and analytical scientist ever. Read the Selfish Gene without the chip on your shoulder….

      2. I didn’t follow the case but I believe the issue is whether or not an API can be copyrighted. I have been a programmer for 30 years and find this to be a tough question. I have developed many of my own API’s which I would like to be protected, yet I also feel it would stifle innovation if others were not allowed to compete and make plug compatible products.

        In a way, an API is like a software equivalent of the Apple Mag Safe charger interface Apple protects it (rightfully so) but because of that protection I can’t buy an external DC Battery for my MacBook Pro because they are not allowed to make a plug that is compatible with a Mac. I guess Apple doesn’t license the patent and doesn’t allow anyone to make a plug compatible adapter. The battery company can only sell a kit and tell you to buy an Apple Charger and cut the wires and use their wire kit to attach the Mag Safe end to their external battery.

        Apple gets the protection they deserve, but society looses in the end. There are definitely two sides to this argument. I suspect the Jury understood very well what they were deciding on and ruled in favor of themselves. In the end, some of the Jury might have owned Androids. Google’s win definitely unjustly uses Oracle technology, but Googles win is also better for the jury themselves.

        We’ve been here before. Juries are not impartial people. I am sure whatever they decided boiled down to what is best for them and they thus put consumers (themselves) first.

        I am sure Google made a great case that ruling in Oracle’s favor would personally hurt the Jury and they would be ruling against themselves.

        I am not a lawyer, but if I were Google, that is a strategy I would have used, and I suspect that that is why they won.

        What kind of case would Oracle have? “Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, we realize that you may be personally screwed by the outcome of your verdict, but please do the right thing, screw yourself, and protect the rights of our Billionaire company”.

        Oracle may have been right, but Google had the advantage and had the ability to make the case personal, that is something Oracle probably couldn’t do.

    1. I didn’t follow the trial, but you’d think the onus would be on the plaintiff to provide really good technical experts to explain things simply to the jury.

  4. Tough when it is almost a forgone conclusion that everyone of the jurors have been using Google services for a decade and, conversely, probably have never used an Oracle problem. I also wonder if they excluded Android users from the jury.

    1. of course they didn’t exclude android users. Oracle just got raped. Was this already an appeal ? I can’t recall. If not, I’m sure they’ll appeal the ruling. Fscking broken ass bullshit court system makes me sick.

  5. The judicial system is such a crock of shit. It’s scary to think that billions of dollars and lives are at the mercy of the average idiot. And yes, most people are pretty stupid. I would hate for a random (actually dumbed down) group of individuals to decide on anything that may impact me.

  6. I guess that means we can all start ripping copies of Adobe CS software and giving it away, because the clueless mofos in American Jurisprudence are as clueless as pond scum.

  7. This is what Apple has to look forward to: waiting almost 2 years to go to trial and getting a clown shoe jury that doesn’t know the difference between an API and DVI. Great news for knock-off artists; not such great news for innovators. What a country!

    1. In the case of Android the “competition” relative to the US based juries is shipping jobs and billions of dollars out of the US into the hands of Asian knock off manufacturers like Samsung and HTC.

  8. Thank god the jury wasn’t blinded by the way Oracle was trying to twist the truth in this whole thing.

    I work in IT and not one of my peers thought Oracle had a case or a leg to stand on. The only person I’ve been able to find who believed Oracle had a case or was ‘right’ was Florian Mueller and guess what? He is on Oracle’s freakin’ payroll. Paid shill and every moron blog on the face of the planet ate his garbage up like it was gospel.

    Sun sealed Oracles fate on this thing when they released Java as open source.

    As for the API copyright question, I hope to hell they decide an API can’t be copyrighted, unless you like the idea of Apple and others paying fees to a companies like MS just because you want your operating system to support connecting to a Windows Share on a network. The samba project would be dead for starters and god knows how many small fees and tolls would be imposed on the various systems modern operating systems interface with.

    The ramifications of a company being able to control who interfaces to an apI are truly scary.

    Justice isn’t perfect but in this case the system actually worked.

    Anyone who wanted Oracle to win really didn’t understand what was at stake imho.

      1. well mister big brain genius please tell me where I have no clue. Been saying for months Oracle was wrong and should lose and now the jury is in, at least as far as patents are concerned.

        So the jury is just as moronic as I am.

        when was your last stroke ?

    1. Funny you should mention Mueller and Samba in the same comment, because he explains why the 2 are totally incongruent examples.

      And Mueller doing consulting work for Oracle isn’t exactly a smoking gun. If deriving financial benefit from clients you write about was a disqualifier, half the blogosphere wouldn’t exist.

      1. I have no interest in reading any of Mueller’s ‘examples’. I’m sure they are just as ass backwards as his entire coverage of this trial.

        I really tried to like him as a source of information but over time the guy proved to be wrong on so many counts about multiple issues.

        I don’t think people purposely bite the hand that feeds them. Either Mueller is kissing Oracle’s ass or he is one piss poor ‘patent expert’. Pick either and it its the same answer – its clear this guy is a dunce with his ‘analysis’

        1. Which explains why every tech site – every one – cites his analysis in their articles. Oh wait-it doesn’t really explain it.

          It must be that you alone possess the keen insight to call this charlatan out for the know-nothing he is and the rest of the tech world has their heads up their asses. I’m sure the prescience exhibited in your MDN commentary will be celebrated one day in the future. Or something.

          1. @TheMacAdvocate

            I know nothing about Mueller, but @Really made a statement that Mueller is usually wrong, and you replied with “Every tech site – every one – cites his analysis”. Didn’t they all think the Earth was the center of the Universe too? They all weren’t wrong were they?

            To me that is not an argument. Maybe all the other writers are just as stupid as you and cite Mueller because every one else does.

            Again, I know nothing about Mueller, but if I were interested, I would look into what @Really had to say and try to verify his conclusions. Meanwhile your (@TheMacAdvocate) conclusion that Mueller must somehow be right just because everyone else thinks he’s right is just plain stupid.

            Thank god there are thinkers like @Really in the world, and not everybody is a sheep like you otherwise we would still be worshiping the sun god and saying “Everybody else knows it’s true therefore it must be”.

            I am not saying I agree with @Really’s conclusions, because I really don’t know, but on the surface he seems like he is a lot smarter than you.

            1. @TheMacAdvocate

              Well, your argument is compelling. You must have been the best on your debate team. I have to agree with you now. If everyone else thinks Mueller is right, then that’s proof enough enough for me and you.–and how silly it was of me to talk about the people who believed the earth was the center of the Universe. There were so many, they must have been just as right as you!

              /eyeroll

            2. I’m more inclined to believe the hundreds of technology people citing Mueller do it based on the validity of his analysis than I am willing to disbelieve everything he writes based on someone pointing out (and Mueller himself flat-out stating) that he does consulting work for some of the people he writes about. Call me crazy.

            3. @TheMacAdvocate

              Let me tell you about an experience my father once had when he worked at a bank and the lost $50 million on a loan that wasn’t properly vetted. They instituted a policy of having loans greater than a certain threshold must be signed off by almost everybody.

              The approval needed 29 signatures. All 29 signatures were signed off and another big loan failed.

              Why? Because the first guy didn’t need to do his job because there were 28 more people below him who needed to sign off on the document, and the 29th person didn’t do his job because 28 people before him already vetted this loan. In the end, everybody signed off and nobody did their job.

              The reason there are hundreds of technology people citing Mueller is only because there are hundreds of other people citing him. It only means he is a popular person to cite, it does not mean who is right or even worth citing.

              Unfortunately, most of the “technology people” are using your same reasoning. There is a lesson to be learned from the 29 signatures. Everyone who signed “believed” that everyone else was doing their job, when in fact nobody was.

              Stop following the herd, history has shown that what the masses believe are wrong probably more often than they are right, and I believe the 29 signatures, and the center of universe argument is very relevant to the discussion and serves as a lesson to open our minds.

  9. Those of you dissing juries: Have you ever served on one? Or have you ever tried a case before one? I have done both, and in my experience, 12 minds, collectively, are pretty smart. Maybe not in every case, but generally they are, collectively, pretty sharp. You have to keep in mind that juries are allowed to consider only the evidence admitted at trial, and only answer the questions submitted to them along with lawyer- drafted and judge approved instructions. If a verdict seems “off” in a given case, it is might be due more to poor lawyering or unfair evidentiary rulings by the judge.

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