updated 08:23 pm EDT, Fri May 4, 2012
Judge urges Oracle vs Google jury to reconvene
The jury in the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit has reached a partial verdict on three of four questions that they were required to consider as part of the copyright liability phase of the trial. The foreman said that a minority of the jury felt that more time would be helpful in reaching agreement on all four questions. Judge Alsup pointed out that the jurors did not need to reach a unanimous agreement on the fourth question, but the foreman told the Judge the impasse was on one of the three questions (embedded below) that required full agreement.
Although both the lawyers representing Oracle and Google were prepared to accept a partial verdict, Judge Alsup urged the jury to reconvene after the weekend on the possibility that they might be able to come to a unanimous decision. 'It's worth you going home over the weekend,' Judge Alsup told the jurors. 'We should take advantage of that hope,' he added. If the jury is unable to agree on the question, Judge Alsup indicated that he too would then accept a partial verdict before moving to the next two phases of the trial.
The next two phases of the trial will center on the issues of patents and damages. If the jury rules in favor of Google, it may weaken Oracle's position on the matter of patent infringement, but not eliminate the possibility that Google will be liable to pay damages. The jurors have been asked to determine whether Google cheated when it mimicked 37 Java APIs and supporting documentation, and whether or not this still constituted 'fair use' under Java licensing agreements.
Any ruling in Oracle's favor is expected have industry-wide repercussions as APIs are required in software so as to allow two pieces of software to be able to interact with each other. As all new software requires a similar interface, it is likely inevitable that it will mimic, to some extent, the APIs used in pre-existing SDKs. [via Wired Groklaw]