updated 08:15 pm EDT, Fri May 11, 2012
Trial continues, damages phase may start next week
It appears the Google versus Oracle legal skirmish regarding Java patentability is beginning to wind down. At the beginning of today's hearings, Judge William Alsup granted Oracle's request for a judgement as a matter of law (JMOL) in regards to eight files copied directly into Android from Oracle's code base, and awarded an additional copyright infringement to Oracle. The matters of "fair use" and willful violation have yet to be decided.
The eight copied files are added to the nine lines of rangeCheck code to add up to two copyright infringement charges. Oracle indicated that it was refusing statutory damages limited to $150,000 in yesterday's revelation per count and would rather go after a share of Google's Android profits-- the "infringer's profits." Judge Alsup disagreed, calling it "the height of ridiculousness" that Oracle expected hundreds of millions of dollars as Oracle has failed to tie specific damages to the use of the code. It is unknown how the declaration in court last week that Android has lost money for Google over an entire fiscal year will apply to Oracle's request for the profits.
Later in the day, Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs informed the court that he had reached an agreement with Google counselor Robert Van Nest to facilitate swiftly moving on to the next phase of the trial. Any discussion of willful infringement has been shelved for now as a stipulation of the agreement.
The damages phase of the trial is expected to start next week. Little remains to be decided of any magnitude, as Oracle's damages have been limited by the Judge and many counts of infringement have been set aside, save the two.
Since the jury passed the incomplete verdict to the judge, Oracle wanted the judge to finish the verdict on his own, and has asked that any retrial be limited to just the 'fair use' issues at stake. Google, for its part, has filed for mistrial, and had previously sealed documents read in court that revealed the losses that it takes in maintaining the Android codebase.