by Christina Warren
A federal jury has issued a partial verdict in the Oracle/Google lawsuit.
Although the jury found that Google infringed on Oracle’s Java tools, it deadlocked around the question of whether Google proved that its use of Java constituted “fair use.”
Oracle sued Google in 2010 over its use of the Java programming language and software tools. Oracle acquired Java when it purchased Sun Microsystems in 2010.
Today’s verdict only encompasses the first part of the case — there are two more parts to come. As Mashable Tech Editor Pete Pachal pointed out last month, nothing less than the future of Android is at stake in this case.
Although Sun open-sourced parts of Java to be used without a licensing agreement, it required a licensing agreement for use with mobile devices. To get around this requirement, Google created its own software that would allow Java execution of Java code on mobile devices, but in such a way that it wasn’t using the traditional Java virtual machines licensed for mobile devices.
The big question for this phase of the trial was whether Google infringed on Oracle’s Java patents and tools and if that infringement was allowed based on rules of fair use.
The jury found that Google did infringe on the use of the tools and APIs held by Oracle, however, it could not come to a decision regarding the fair use claim.
Because the fair use claim is so integral to future aspects of the case, both sides are pushing for more clarification. Google has motioned for a mistrial. Meanwhile, Oracle has motioned for the presiding judge in the case to issue his own verdict. The judge will make his ruling on both matters later in the week.
Oracle hasn’t issued a comment on the ruling, but in a statement to the Mercury News, Google said, “We appreciate the jury’s efforts, and know that fair use and infringement are two sides of the same coin. The core issue is whether the APIs here are copyrightable, and that’s for the court to decide. We expect to prevail on this issue and Oracle’s other claims.”