After false alarm, no verdict Friday in Oracle Google

The jurors will be given until Monday to try to agree on one final copyright issue

The jury failed to reach a verdict Friday on the copyright issues in Oracle's Java infringement lawsuit against Google and will be given until Monday to try to make a decision.

The jury foreman told the court that the jurors were unanimous on all but one of the copyright questions they have been asked to consider. The verdict form has four questions, each in multiple parts.

Judge William Alsup had told the jury on Thursday he would accept a partial verdict if it was the best they could do, and there was tension in the court Friday when it looked like he was going to ask them to read out the parts they had decided.

But because only one question remained, Alsup decided to send the jury home for the weekend to see if they can come to an agreement on Monday. The jury didn't tell the court which issue they have failed to decide on.

"OK, I'll let you go home and speculate," Alsup told the two legal teams after the jury had been dismissed, getting a chuckle from the courtroom.

The jury has been deliberating the case all week, occasionally sending notes to the judge asking for clarification on certain questions. On Thursday a juror asked the judge what happens if they can't reach an agreement, and he gave the panel a pep talk and told them to keep trying.

The verdict form asks four questions, each broken into multiple parts. The first, considered the most important, is whether Google's use of 37 Java APIs in Android infringed Oracle's Java copyrights. A second part to that question asks, if Google did infringe, was its infringement covered by "fair use," which permits copying under limited circumstances.

Another question asks whether public statements by Sun Microsystems, which developed Java, could have led Google to believe it didn't need a license for the technology. A second part asks if Google acted on that advice.

"After an extensive and thorough review of all the evidence and input from fellow jurors, we have reached a verdict unanimously for all questions on the special verdict form except one," the jury foreman told the court.

The lawyers in the case have been debating what to do if the jury agrees on only some of the questions. Alsup has said that issues that don't get resolved could be put to another jury later, and the jury in this case can move on to the patent and damages phases.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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James Niccolai

IDG News Service
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