In what’s easily the highest-profile patent case so far this year, the jury is narrowing down its information while it prepares for a verdict. Three days into deliberations, the jury for Oracle vs Google is asking for more specific information of who uses the Java software, the patents of which are the central crux of Oracle’s case. While it’s dangerous to infer what the jury is thinking, it indicates that they’re seeking out the audience that may have been affected by Google’s alleged infraction.
It also indicates that after weeks of back and forth between plaintiff and defendant, the jury still isn’t fully aware of the subtleties inherent in the tricky business of software copyright. The judge in the case, the honorable William Alsup, told the jury that the primary users of Java are the programmers who build the code for Android and its applications. The final response indicated that the “final audience” for the case constitutes only those who would be able to read the code, i.e., Java programmers.
Oracle claims that nine lines of code and 37 APIs in the Android operating system were lifted wholly from Java and its API, constituting illegal infringement. Google argues that the code constitutes fair use. As of 4PM Eastern Standard Time the jury hadn’t reached a verdict on the first part of the case, and deliberations will probably continue for at least another day. The next phase of the trial covers Oracle’s software patents, which unfortunately are likely to be even more contentious.