SAN JOSE, Calif. — In a decision with potentially wide-ranging implications for Silicon Valley’s battling tech giants, a federal jury on Wednesday ruled unanimously that Google did not infringe Oracle’s patents when it developed its Android software.
In the second phase of a lengthy trial riddled with tech esoterica that at times seemed to confound the jurors, the 10-person panel ruled that neither of the two patents at issue was infringed. Immediately after the verdict was announced, Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court of Northern California dismissed the jurors and canceled the third phase of the trial over damages. Alsup pointed out that it was the longest civil trial he had been a part of and said he would be issuing his decision on a related copyright issue within the case next week.
Oracle, the largest maker of database software, alleged Google stole two patents for the Java programming language when it developed Android, which now runs on more than 300 million smartphones. In the first phase of the trial, the same jury found the search engine company infringed Oracle’s Java copyrights while it couldn’t agree on whether the copying was “fair use.”
The verdict is a win for Google, and marks the end of the trial’s second phase, which focused on the claims of patent infringement. Closing arguments in the case were made last week.
In a statement, Oracle said it had “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.”