Oracle Wins Partial Verdict In Copyright Case Against Google

Internet search giant Google was dealt a blow on Monday in the ongoing struggle for control of the smartphone market and the patents related to it. In a partial verdict in San Francisco on Monday, a jury decided that Google had indeed infringed on a number of Oracle’s copyrights related to the structure of a part of the Java programming language. Despite deliberating for days, however, the jury failed to reach a decision as to whether Google had the right to utilize the copyrighted structure.

Oracle initially filed the claim in August 2010, claiming that Google did not have the right to fair use of Java’s structural and organizational elements. But the jury’s partial verdict may be a setback for Oracle, as the ruling does not pave the way for Oracle to begin charging Google licensing fees for the technologies, which constitute a major part of the Android platform. Google’s lawyers immediately moved for a mistrial in the case following the verdict on Monday.

Google has claimed all along that Android does not violate Oracle’s patents, and that Oracle cannot copyright parts of Java because it is an open-source code, meaning it is publicly available for other companies to use as they wish. In the early stages of the case, estimates of Google’s potential liabilities in the matter were as high as $6 billion, but Google has managed to narrow down the claims so that its primary liabilities now stem from copyright claims, for which Oracle is seeking about $1 billion in damages.