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Oracle judge may accept partial verdict in Google Java suit

May 04, 2012|Bloomberg News

The judge in  Oracle Corp.'s copyright-infringement lawsuit against  Google Inc.  may accept a partial verdict.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said Friday that he had a "strong inclination" to accept a partial verdict in the case, an outcome that Google opposes.

The jury has been weighing whether Google infringed parts of Oracle's Java programming language to develop the Android operating system for smartphones, now running on 300 million devices.

The panel heard two weeks of testimony from Oracle and Google executives, including their chief executive officers. After three days of deliberations, a juror sent a note to Alsup yesterday asking what happens if they can't reach a unanimous decision.

Oracle, the largest maker of database software, is seeking $1 billion and a court order blocking Google from distributing Android unless it pays for a license. Google claims that the parts of Java it used aren't covered by copyrights and that its use of Java, a free language, was fair and legal.

Jurors were asked to decide whether Mountain View, Calif.-based Google infringed copyrights and, if so, whether the copying was "fair use," meaning that it added something new or functional to Java that is in the public interest.

The next phase of the trial, expected to last until the first week of June, concerns whether Google infringed two Java patents and whether Redwood City, California-based Oracle is entitled to any damages.

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