Google vs Oracle: Google wins round two of patents case

Google has won the latest battle of the patents after a court in California ruled that the internet search giant didn’t infringe on Oracle’s patents.

The trial has had two distinct phases, concerning copyright and patent infringement separately.

The jury had already returned an inconclusive verdict in the copyright infringement aspect of the case, stating that they believed Google had infringed Oracle’s copyright on 37 Java APIs, but could not decide whether the infringement was covered by “fair use”.

Wednesday’s verdict, described by Google as a victory “for the entire Android ecosystem”, is a huge blow for developers Oracle, who gain around $150,000 in damages from the copyright aspect of the suit – petty change compared to the potential $1 billion they were hoping for.

However, the matter isn’t finished yet, with the API question still to be resolved, which it is believed Judge William Alsup will rule on within the next two weeks.

The case centred on whether Google copied Oracle’s Java APIs for its Android OS. Google claimed that Oracle couldn’t copyright certain parts of what is open-source software.

Oracle initially sued in August 2010, claiming Google “knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property”. 

In a statement, Oracle gave the impression that it was going to appeal, noting that it “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 for the nine million Java developers and the community that depend on Java compatibility,” it added.

With seemingly no end in sight to the patents war of attrition, who’s the bigger winner in all this; Google or the lawyers? What does this verdict mean for the developer community?

 

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