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Jury Backs Google in Patent Case

May 23, 2012

A federal jury in California has cleared Google of allegations that it infringed on two patents held by software firm Oracle, in the design of its Android mobile operating system, Bloomberg reports.

"Today's jury verdict that Android does not infringe Oracle's patents was a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem," Catherine Lacavera, Google's director of litigation, said in a statement.

The verdict ends the second phase of a three-part intellectual property trial that is apparently not going well for Oracle. The software company filed suit in August 2010, seeking as much as $6 billion in damages, alleging that Google had infringed on its copyrights and patents in designing Android.

"Oracle presented overwhelming evidence at trial that Google knew it would fragment and damage Java," said Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger.

The copyright phase of the trial ended with a finding of infringement, but with the jury divided on whether Google's "fair use" claim to the material was valid. There could be a new trial to decide the fair use issue. Without a finding against Google on this issue, Oracle is substantially limited in the damages it can seek.

Also on the horizon is a ruling from U.S. District Judge William Alsup on the question of whether the Java programming language, which was at issue in the case, is subject to copyright law.

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