Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US) failed to convince a federal judge in an intellectual property case that Google Inc. (GOOG:US) unfairly used its technology in the search engine provider’s Android software for mobile devices.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco denied Oracle’s request for a ruling that could have established that Google is liable for copyright infringement.
Oracle asked Alsup for a judgment in its favor on “fair use” after a jury found that Google infringed parts of its Java programming language and deadlocked on whether the copying constituted fair use. Liability rests on whether there was fair use, Alsup said after the jury reached a verdict May 7.
“I don’t think it would be right,” Alsup said at a hearing yesterday. The decision could pave the way for a new trial on the question of whether Google’s infringement makes it liable for as much as $1 billion in damages for using parts of Java to develop Android without paying for a license.
The legal doctrine of fair use states that anyone can use copyrighted work without consent of the owner under certain circumstances, such as for teaching, in news reporting and commentary or to advance the public interest by creating something new.
The May 7 jury verdict came in the first phase of an eight- week trial that began April 16. The jury is hearing testimony this week on Oracle’s claims that Google also infringed two Java patents. The last phase of the trial will deal with damages.
The case is Oracle v. Google, 10-3561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
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