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Jury May Be Deadlocked In Oracle-Google Trial 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the 12-angry-iphone-users dept.
angry tapir writes "The jury may have reached a deadlock in the copyright phase of Oracle's intellectual property lawsuit against Google, although the judge cautioned against jumping to any conclusions. 'What happens if we can't reach a unanimous decision and people are not budging?' one of the jurors asked in a written note sent to the judge. The 12 jurors have been deliberating the copyright phase of Oracle's lawsuit against Google since Monday, and they need to be unanimous in any verdict they reach." According to Groklaw, Judge Alsup raised the possibility of a partial verdict — accepting the issues the jury can agree on and then retrying the rest. Google was less amenable to that than Oracle. Update: 05/04 21:05 GMT by S : The jury has reached a verdict on all claims but one. However, the judge sent them home for the weekend. On Monday they'll vote again and see if they can resolve the last claim.
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Jury May Be Deadlocked In Oracle-Google Trial

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  • Re:Why even? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ntsucks (22132) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:26PM (#39894433)

    Unanimous means all jurors, not a majority.

  • by Xtifr (1323) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:40PM (#39894673) Homepage

    The judge declined to decide in advance whether the APIs are copyrightable at all, but has reserved that decision to himself. In the interest of judicial economy, in the face of an almost certain appeal--no matter which side wins--the judge decided to instruct the jury to assume the worst case: that the APIs are copyrightable, and can be infringed. That way, if the appeal overturns a point of law, the issues of fact won't need to be retried. No need for a new jury. Unfortunately, this may have given the jury the idea that Google was definitely guilty of something.

    Note that all existing precedent is against the notion that APIs are copyrightable. And that even before the recent EU decision (which the judge has asked the parties to brief him on). Oracle's argument for why their/em API should be considered special basically boils down to "it was hard!" But the SCOTUS recently reaffirmed that "sweat of the brow" is not a valid argument for copyrightability.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:13PM (#39895233) Homepage

    I have been following the trial closely through Groklaw and have observed many interesting things about the progress of this case. Oracle's case has been rather nebulous from the beginning and rather reminds me of the SCO vs. IBM case in many ways including the question of whether or not they actually have the right to sue. Oracle has changed its position several times on several issues from the beginning of this case. In one instance, Oracle agreed to drop one of its claims associated with a patent which was under appeal at the USPTO. It had been rejected recently after it was re-examined. And since the case was still going to trial on schedule, Oracle agreed to drop its claim associated with that patent. But after the trial started, the USPTO approved the patent appeal and then Oracle sought to reinstate its claims against Google for the patent it had agree to drop. In my opinion, it just goes to show Oracle's understanding of what "agreement" means. They already agreed to drop the patent issue. The judge accepted the agreement and wrote "...it is so ordered." DONE is DONE. Oracle may have felt "it won't hurt to ask will it?" Well, yeah, it might... and it did. The judge was annoyed as having to remind Oracle of its agreement and denied its request.

    During the copyright phase of the trial, Oracle was pretty "confusing" when it came to its assertions about what is copyrightable. Even people who might be inclined to side with Oracle and knows a bit about copyright law would likely have been astounded at some of their claims. Nevertheless, they made their assertions which were countered by Google. But the thing is, some people are always inclined to err on the side of the plaintiff when they don't understand something or if they believed what Oracle said and simply shut out what Google had to offer as a counter. (This is typical in cases of "belief.")

    And the judge already saw this happening even while the trial was in progress. Immediately after the jury went off to decide how to rule, the judge set about trying to manage how a hung jury would be handled or mitigated. He did NOT waste any time on the matter. And this well-timed ruling by an EU court lead to the judge asking questions of Google and Oracle on the matter as the question was rather relevant to the Oracle v Google case.

    But Oracle's misinformation isn't limited to asserting what is copyrightable, what portions are copyrightable and all that (and it turns out that Google contributed to Java's code!! How interesting that Google can contribute code to Java and then get sued for it!) it turns out that Sun's CEO blogs were characterized as "unofficial." This claim, of course, is in sharp contrast the the SEC filings Sun had presented in the past. So the blog WAS, in fact, official in function and content. (It's probably not perjury though...Oracle simply didn't know... maybe...)

    Google has played their side pretty openly. They didn't hide anything in their case and remained rather consistent in their defence and restated their case consistently throughout. Oracle, on the other hand continues to be elusive and imprecise with their case. Their case had crumbled significantly during pretrial motions and have tested the patience of the judge on numerous occasions. Meanwhile, Google remained cooperative and responsive to the judge and the case. (Seriously, Google wore an extremely white hat in all of this... I rather expected a bit of wriggling and resistance on Google's part, but I just didn't see it... so please, if anyone has an opinion to the contrary, visit Groklaw and show me an example of Google playing games with the legal system. I could be wrong, I just don't think so in this case.)

    So any jury in a case of copyright infringement is already challenged by the likes of MPAA and RIAA cases. The jury most often wants to side with the plaintiff as we have seen in the past and grants ridiculously large and punitive awards. And we have seen the transcripts of these trials and the preposterous claims wh

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:46PM (#39895713)
    You need to read up on this some more before posting. Some of the patents were indeed ruled invalid. Not all of them. The case is running in multiple phases. The judge started with the Copyright part - where Oracle seems to think you can copyright an API. The jurors may be deadlocked on that because the judge instructed them to assume that you can copyright an API in their deliberations. The Patent phase will be coming directly after the Copyright phase ends.
  • by foobsr (693224) on Friday May 04, 2012 @06:24PM (#39897473) Homepage Journal

    Dvd Jon

    Debatable, quote: "As stated, the prosecution did not appeal to the Norwegian Supreme Court, so the last ruling is seen as a resounding legal victory for the defendant. Norwegian consumer groups like Electronic Frontier Norway were delighted. Having been ethically convinced throughout of the legitimacy of their cause, they now have legal backing—at least in Norway. DVD-Jon and like-minded spirits, encouraged by the rulings, see themselves, and are seen, as crusaders of the open source movement." (http://informationr.net/ir/10-3/paper230.html)

    send everyone but China in the stone age

    Probably a then 'better' (not that I think China is an alternative to be preferred) model will find followers? Who wants stone-age money (which is virtual anyway by way of fractional banking, automated trading etc.)?

    CC.

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