The jury foreman told the court on Friday that the 12-member panelhad reached unanimous agreement on all but one of the questions onthe verdict form , but that they're at an "impasse" over that final issue. The verdict form has four questions, each broken into multipleparts. The judge had indicated previously he would accept a partialverdict from the jury, so there was tension in the courtroom Fridaywhen it appeared the jury was about to reveal their decisions. But after a few minutes of discussion, Judge William Alsup decidedthere was hope that the jury might be able to agree on the finalquestion after a break for the weekend. |
They will reconvene onMonday at 8 a.m. to try to complete their deliberations. The jury didn't disclose which question it couldn't agree on, sothe attorneys will have to wait until Monday to find out. "OK, I'll let you go home and speculate," Alsup told the two legalteams after the jury had been dismissed, getting a chuckle from thecourtroom. Legal Fight Nears End Oracle accuses Google of infringing its Java patents and copyrights in Google's AndroidOS.
Google denies any wrongdoing, saying it developed a clean-roomversion of Java and built Android without using Oracle's protectedcode. The trial is being heard in three phases. Lawyers made theirclosing arguments in the copyright portion of the trial Mondaymorning, and the jury has been in deliberations ever since. The next phase, expected to start next week, willaddress Oracle's patent claims, and the final phase will determineany damages it should be awarded.
The jury indicated Thursday evening that they might have reached a deadlock in their copyright deliberations, but the judge told them to keeptrying. Just before 1 p.m. Pacific Time Friday, they sent a note tothe judge saying they were ready to deliver a partial verdict. Before the jury entered the courtroom, the judge asked the lawyershow they wanted to proceed.
"They've worked hard, they've asked good questions, and if theyhave a partial verdict, we should take that," Michael Jacobs, anattorney for Oracle, told the judge. Google's Robert Van Nestagreed. But after the jury entered, the foreman told Alsup that a minorityof the jury had not wanted to send the note saying they had reacheda partial decision. Those jurors believed there was hope ofresolving all the issues after the weekend. After some discussion with the lawyers out of the jury's earshot,Alsup told them that if there was hope of reaching a full verdict,they should continue to try.
Questions for Jury The first question on the verdict form, seen as the most important,is about whether Google's use of 37 Java APIs in Android infringedOracle's Java copyrights. Part "B" of that question asks, if Googledid infringe, was its infringement covered by "fair use," whichpermits copying under limited circumstances. The next two questions deal with Google's alleged infringement ofOracle's Java API documentation, and some line-by-line copying of asmall amount of code into Android. The fourth asks whether publicstatements from Sun suggesting it supported Android's developmentwere sufficient to make Google believe it didn't need a license forJava. The judge didn't want the jury to reveal its verdict for any of thequestions they had answered, but he asked if the question on whichthey had reached an impasse was among the first three, and theforeman told him it was.
The judge has yet to decide how he'll proceed if the jury has stillreached only a partial verdict after Monday. The issue they can'tagree upon may have to be tried again before a new jury, he saidFriday. James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news forIDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai . James's e-mail address is email@example.com.
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