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  (Source: LucasFilm, Ltd.)
Oracle gambit is dashed by failure

A note to Google Inc.'s (GOOG) legal enemies (and there are many) -- Google may seem soft-hearted and overly idealistic in its public persona, but in the court room it has more in common with Jason Statham than frosted pastries and cutesy robots.

I. Patent Infringement? "Not Guilty"

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) learned that the hard way in U.S. Federal District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco) today when a jury rejected its arguments and found Google innocent [source] in every case of alleged patent infringement.  

It took the jury a bit over a week to deliberate and reach a verdict in the patent phase of the case.  That same jury already handed a Google a major early win, finding it only violated one of the many copyrights Oracle accused it of, and further was deadlocked on whether Oracle conclusively established the inapplicability of fair use rules.  Hence the jury only ruled Google guilty of minor copyright infringement, and could not decide whether that infringement was acceptable under Fair Use law, hence they essentially found no guilt by Google in the copyright infringement portion.

Google's peachy position was only slightly marred by presiding Judge William Alsup's decision that Google also violated copyrights on eight Java test files.  Still, all and all Google escaped relatively scott-free from the copyright portion.

Now it has a resounding victory in the patent portion to accompany it.  Of the two patents -- U.S. Patent RE38,104 and 6,061,520 -- jurors found that Google did not infringe on a single on of the 8 asserted claims.

Oracle v Google verdict
Oracel v. Google
Oracle v. Google not guitly

As with the copyright phase, the case now goes before Judge Alsup for an official review.  There may be minor modifications, but Judge Alsup's ruling in the copyright phase was fairly close to the jury's so it would be somewhat surprising to seem him diverge substantially in the patent phase.

II. Copyright Infringement Damages Shaping up to be Minimal, as Well

As to the copyright infringements (the RangeCheck and eight test files), the validity of those copyright is in question as there's a debate over whether Oracle should have been allowed to copyright the structure, sequence, and organization (SSO) of the Java code.

Given that the rest of the copyright phase has wrapped up, Google and Oracle have reached an agreement.  If the SSO is found to be valid, all three copyright infringement counts will be bundled together in a new trial.  In the new trial, the jury would be informed that SSO copyrights were not covered by copyright law.  This would make the jury even less likely, in theory, to find Google guilty of any infringement than the minimal infringement findings by the current jury, who operated under the assumption that copyright laws protected SSO-style works.

If the judge finds that copyright laws do protect such works -- the best case for Oracle -- Oracle will receive at most $150,000 USD per infringement, along with Google being banned from using that code.  Neither punishment would be very damaging to Google (9 infringements x $150K USD = $1.35M USD) given the ease by which Google could implement workarounds in its Dalvik Java virtual machine.

Judge Alsup is taking the next couple days off for personal reasons, but a decision on the patent phase (based on the jury's findings of Google's complete innocence) and the final ruling on the SSO issue are expected from him within a couple weeks.

Whatever that decision is, it's already fairly clear that Google will at most have minor workaround work ahead of it, and be obliged to pay at most a couple million dollars. That's wildly different from the billions of dollars in punitive damages Oracle had sought originally.  It's even far 0.65 percent of Android revenue and $2.8M USD in a lump cash sum that Google was willing to offer Oracle in the settlement phase.

Android doll
Google has been a mean machine, trashing foes in court. [Image Source: ZuperDZigh]

Therein lies the bitter irony for Oracle.  It called Google's proposed settlement a "low ball" figure that undervalued its intellectual property.  But in the end, it may wind up receiving far less because it took the case to a trial by jury.  Of course, that's the risk one takes when they opt not to settle.  And that's the risk anyone takes when they take on Google's legal team.

After all, Oracle is hardly the first "victim" of Google's sophisticated legal unit.  Viacom, Inc. (VIA) can attest to that, after its lawyers were humiliated after Google revealed that Viacom employees had uploaded infringed content to Google's YouTube in an apparent attempt to frame the internet firm.  Moral of the story -- don't mess with Google -- or if you do, come ready for a fight.

Source: The Verge

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RE: 9 Infringements?
By JasonMick on 5/23/2012 4:48:39 PM , Rating: 3
9 Infringements? Really? That seems awfully generous, considering those 1 of those lines consists of "}" and another consists of "if (fromIndex < 0)". Not that any of the lines are at all complex and more so ignoring that infringement isn't counted on a per line basis (else making an illegal copy of Windows would be several hundred thousand cases of infringement).
You're forgetting:

common sense/technical merits =/= patent/copyright law

...If you're big and powerful enough, you can copyright a single line of code and then claim hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages in court if someone copies that line.

Of course, the insanity of such practices aside, it is safe to say that Oracle will wind up with far less cash than the $6 billion it thought it would, or even the 0.65 percent of Android revenue (likely tens of millions) that Google offered it.

RE: 9 Infringements?
By Amiga500 on 5/23/2012 5:54:02 PM , Rating: 4
I should patent the line:

if array(iRow,iCol) > 0:

The whole thing is f**king ridiculous. If a section of code does not contain complex numerics then it should not be copyright-able. Unless someone has copied more than, say, 5% of the non-complex part of any code, then it should be deemed non-copied.

It would be a nice and simple way of getting around this current crap quickly.

RE: 9 Infringements?
By vXv on 5/24/2012 4:22:21 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't about patents but copyright. But anyway Judge Alsup claimed that he can write that 9 lines of code by himself in a short period of time (which implies that Google did not gain much if anything by coping it), which makes the whole thing pointless. I doubt that he will rule "9 infringements" on the basis that each infringement is a line of code ... that's just ridiculous.

RE: 9 Infringements?
By fteoath64 on 5/24/2012 6:50:00 AM , Rating: 2
The judge can. He will also set aside damages to the amount of $150K which is these infringement amount to compared to the total-works. Then he can also allow Google a certain time to remove the infringing code. A few clicks, compile, distribute, download, OTA, update done.

RE: 9 Infringements?
By Etsp on 5/23/2012 6:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't aware that individual lines of code were considered to be infringements. If that is the case, then Google could have made an argument of prior art for the first and last lines, just to rub it in a bit further.

RE: 9 Infringements?
By JasonMick on 5/23/2012 6:29:25 PM , Rating: 5
I wasn't aware that individual lines of code were considered to be infringements. If that is the case, then Google could have made an argument of prior art for the first and last lines, just to rub it in a bit further.
Bear in mind a lot of that kind of information is getting buried based in part by the fact that one of the most cited "sources" of "independent" information/analysis on the case, Florian Mueller has published incredibly one-sided and misleading overviews exagerrating the supposed infringements and then -- lo and behold -- magically owns up to getting a posh analyst paycheck from Oracle.

I always wondered how Mr. Mueller could afford to selflessly devote so much time to extolling the virtues of Oracle and Apple's cases and trashing Google & co.. By contrast, most writers like myself actually have to cover a variety of news weekly. But when the analyst relationship was revealed, it became pretty clear how Mr. Mueller could afford such singular focus on the Google court disputes.

But yeah, back in the real world:
Android has several million lines of code, so could the nine lines of code actually be worth $6 billion? Alsup didn't appear to think so.

RE: 9 Infringements?
By WalksTheWalk on 5/24/2012 11:08:05 AM , Rating: 2
A paid shill would a great gig to have if a guy could make a living at it. Sit at home and troll, troll, troll. Once my auto-troll application was complete it would free up a lot of my time of other, more personal, activities.

RE: 9 Infringements?
By Etsp on 5/24/2012 5:21:08 PM , Rating: 2
free up a lot of my time of other, more personal, activities.
You mean fapping. Because nobody would like you cause you troll all day. :D

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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