Google Wins Trial Against Oracle, Saves $9 Billion
The ruling that Google's use of APIs is a fair use will have wide-ranging ramifications for the rest of the tech industry.
Alphabet CEO Larry Page. Image: Getty
Google just won in Oracle v. Google, a $9 billion case over Android code. At 1:00 PM PDT, a jury of ten people delivered a verdict in favor of Google.
The lawsuit was first filed in 2010. There was already a trial in 2012, but after an appeal to the Federal Circuit, the parties underwent a second trial over copyrighted code.
At the end of their third day of deliberation, the jury found that Google's use of the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the Java APIs in the Android code was a fair use.
After the verdict was read aloud, Judge William Alsup thanked the jury for their service, noting that the jurors—who often came to court even earlier than the set start time of 7:45 AM, and lingered after hours to pore over their notes—had been "attentive" and "worked hard."
"I salute you for your extreme hard work in this case," he told the jury, which on Tuesday, he had called "the best jury this courthouse has ever seen."
Once the jury was dismissed, Alsup said, "I know there will be appeals and the like." Oracle is expected to appeal the decision, meaning that this already six-year-long litigation will drag out even longer.
But still, lawyers for Google were wreathed in smiles after their big victory, laughing and hugging each other as Oracle lawyers huddled grimly on the other side of the courtroom.
The tech industry has had its eyes on this case, since Google's alleged infringement—a clean room reimplementation of the APIs—is a widespread industry practice. Many commentators—and if the tortured analogies that came up at trial are any indication, the lawyers themselves—feared that the jury would not understand the technical issues at the heart of the case. We don't know if the jury understood APIs, but the verdict is in: Google's use is a fair use.