Oracle claims partial victory over Google in €781m Android copyright battle
GOOGLE’S Android mobile operating system breached Oracle's copyright, a jury has found, in a $1bn (€781m) court battle between the two technology giants.
Oracle is suing Google for breaching seven patents and copyright claims relating to Java, the computer programming language Oracle took ownership of when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2010.
However, it has only scored a partial victory in what is a three-part courtroom drama.
The jury in San Francisco, who were asked to answer four questions about the copyright in nine lines of Java code that are also used in Android, were unanimous on three questions but reached deadlock on a fourth.
Jurors could not agree whether Google's breach amounted to "fair use" under copyright law, landing a blow to Oracle's chances of winning substantial damages.
The jury will now hear evidence relating to two patents that Oracle claims Google breached in the next phase of the trial.
Larry Ellison, chief executive and founder of Oracle, lined up to fight Google in August 2010, when his company first took action.
Initially Oracle was seeking $6.1bn in damages from Google, which it claimed had "knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property".
However, Google has successfully whittled Oracle's claim down to just two patents and a possible $1bn in damages.
It has consistently dismissed the allegations, arguing that it does not violate Oracle's patents and that Oracle cannot copyright certain parts of Java in the first place.
Even so, the court case, which began last month, is one of the biggest patent lawsuits the technology sector has seen, and has already yielded some fireworks and surprises from two of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley.
Mr Ellison revealed during his evidence that Oracle had considered buying Research In Motion, the company which makes BlackBerry smartphones, as part of an aborted attempt to move into handsets itself.
Eric Schmidt, chairman and former chief executive of Google, told jurors that its Android operating system, which is free for mobile producers to install in their handsets, simply aimed to help the company "get as many users as we could".