Oracle, Google await verdict in $1 billion smartphone lawsuit

Published May 01, 2012

| The Wall Street Journal

Oracle and Google closed their respective cases in the copyright portion of an ongoing legal battle over Google's Android mobile phone software Monday, leaving a jury to decide on one half of a high-profile trial over the alleged infringement of Oracle's Java copyrights and patents.

Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs closed his client's copyright case by arguing Google's defense amounted to a series of insufficient excuses for pilfering Java in order to build Android, which has since become the most popular smartphone software platform in the world.

"We need the help of the justice system to enforce our intellectual property rights," Jacobs told the jury.

Google attorney Robert Van Nest countered that the Internet search giant merely interpreted a small portion of Java open to public use in order to build the sort of successful mobile software that Oracle and Sun had failed to develop on their own.

While Van Nest conceded Google did once have a small amount of proprietary Java code in Android, it was so minimal as to be "not a big deal whatsoever."

Oracle bought Sun and Sun's Java technology in early 2010. Later that year, Oracle sued Google, alleging Android infringes copyrights and patents that protect Java. The companies went to trial in San Francisco earlier this month.

After the jury deliberates over Oracle's copyright claims, the trial will shift to patents. A third, damages phase related to both copyrights and patents could follow as part of a trial expected to last two months.

During his closing argument, Google attorney Van Nest leaned heavily on the testimony of former Sun Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz, who had said Sun had no grounds to sue Google over Android. Schwartz, as Google's attorneys stressed, publicly praised Android.

Read more on the $1 billion lawsuit at the Wall Street Journal. 

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