updated 10:10 pm EDT, Thu May 10, 2012
If needed, Oracle wants retrial limited to 'fair use'
Multiple decisions have been made by Judge William Alsup today in the ongoing Oracle versus Google copyright infringement case. To start the day, the judge told Oracle that by statute, the most it could expect is $150,000 for the nine duplicated lines of rangeCheck. More recently, Oracle filed a brief with the court requesting that any retrial be limited to the one issue the jury couldn't agree on -- "fair use."
If the entire matter goes back to trial in the event of a mistrial, then even the existing jury decision about the infringement is in question. Oracle's filing today seeks to protect the jury's decision that Google has in fact violated Oracle's patents in the event of a future trial. The jury originally found Google to have violated the Java patents on 37 separate occasions, but Judge Alsop reduced it to the single count and the nine lines in question.
Regardless of the jury finding Google guilty of infringement, the second issue of fair use is critical in determining if any award is to be paid at all. If Google's use of Oracle's source code is found to be "fair use" of the possibly not-patentable code in either a matter of law decision by the judge or a jury verdict in a retrial, then Oracle won't see any monetary damages from the decision.
Judge Alsup has not ruled on either Google's request for a mistrial and thus, a new trial, nor has he ruled on Oracle's filing today to divorce the portions of the case already heard and partially decided.
Google was found to have violated Oracle's patents primarily by Joshua Bloch's admission that he "likely copied" nine lines of Oracle code in a single subroutine for Android. Google filed for a mistrial earlier this week in response to the partial jury verdict.