A federal jury on Monday found that Google infringed copyrights held by Oracle, but failed to answer a key question that Oracle will need to press its case for nearly $1 billion in damages. Needless to say, “The result was a blow to Oracle's quest for a share of profits in the world's leading smartphone operating system,” MercuryNew.com writes -- referring to Google's Android mobile software. Indeed, "You could say it's a setback for Oracle," Edward Naughton, a Boston attorney who specializes in technology cases and has been following the trial closely, tells MercuryNews.
Yet, added Naughton, "The situation is still quite up in the air." After nearly a week of deliberation, jurors agreed that Google infringed on Oracle's copyrights by copying a small amount of Java code in Android, and by basically mimicking the structure and organization of certain elements known as Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs. Jurors also rejected some other infringement claims, which were considered less important to the case. But on a key question, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on Google's argument that using the APIs was permitted under the legal concept of "fair use," which allows using excerpts from a copyrighted work under limited circumstances that are beneficial to the public interest.