Jury rules Google in the clear over AndroidDale Wright
The court case between Oracle and Google over the Android operating system has ended at a stalemate – at least for now.
It looks like Google may have dodged a hefty legal bill in the first stage of their trial.
Oracle are accusing Google of ripping off Java in the production of Android without paying a licence fee. Java was technically free at the time, but a license was needed to make massive changes, which is what Google’s development team did.
The jury decided that Google have broken copyright in Android, and emails between Google staff seem to confirm that they knew a licence was needed at the time. But the jury couldn’t decide whether the copyright infringement should be considered ‘fair use’ in legal terms.
‘Fair use’ is the same clause that allows school children to photocopy a handful of pages from books for their studies, and allows a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to copyrighted works.
The Oracle team are looking for $1 billion in damages from Google, but it now seems like they’ll fall a long way short of their target. Java is now their product because they purchased Sun, the original owner, in 2010. It looks like they may only receive $150,000 for just nine lines of ripped off code.
Android is now used by 300 million people worldwide, and the company is just about to break another record: through Android Market, and the Google Play Store, it has now sold almost 15 billion apps. If Google continue to sell apps at this phenomenal pace, they will soon overtake Apple in the app sales stakes and beat them at their own game. Android is now the fastest moving OS for smartphones which makes it a lucrative target for companies like Oracle.
For now, at least, it seems Google are safe from Oracle’s lawsuits, but round two begins this week.