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Oracle Google Java Copyright Infringement Case Goes to Jury

Oracle Corp.’s case against Google Inc. alleging copyright infringement over the use of the Java programming language for Android software went to the jury for deliberations.

The 12-person panel will decide whether Google, the largest Web-search operator, infringed parts of Java in developing Android. Java is a free programming language invented by Sun Microsystems Inc. and Android runs on more than 300 million smartphones. Oracle, the largest maker of database software, acquired Java when it bought Sun in 2010.

If jurors find that Google infringed Java, they need to also decide whether it constituted “fair use,” according to the verdict form in the case. Anyone can use copyrighted work without consent of the owner if it advances the public interest, by adding something new or functional, U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who presides over the trial, told the jury today.

The panel is also deciding whether the elements of Java that Google conceded it used were too small to be considered infringement.

Oracle is seeking $1 billion in damages. The jury won’t decide damages in this phase of the trial.

The case is Oracle v. Google, 10-3561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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