Google-Oracle jury clashes on one point

Jurors in a high-stakes court battle between Google and Oracle told a judge on Friday that they were in unison regarding verdicts on all but one of the four copyright counts in the case.

US District Court Judge William Alsup sent the 12-member jury home for the weekend, telling them to return Monday to either reach agreement on the final count or, failing that, reveal what they have decided.

"Think about it and come back Monday," Alsup said, reminding them it was against the rules to do outside research, read news articles or ask others for advice.

"If there is hope of reaching a verdict on all (counts), then we should take advantage of that hope."

The judge carefully avoided violating the mandated privacy of deliberations and did not ask upon which points jurors unanimously agreed.

Comments and questions from the jury indicated that the most important question of whether Google violated Java code copyright in its Android software could still be undecided by the jurors.

If jurors agree that Google abused copyrights regarding 37 Java application programming interfaces (APIs), they must then decide whether it was "fair use" that made it essentially acceptable under the law.

The copyright phase of the trial will be immediately followed by a second part focused on whether Google wrongly used patented Java code in Android.

Oracle accuses Google of infringing on Java computer programming language patents and copyrights Oracle obtained when it bought Java inventor Sun Microsystems in a $7.4 billion deal brokered in 2009.

Google has denied the claims and said it believes mobile phone makers and other users of its open-source Android operating system are entitled to use the Java technology in dispute.

The Internet titan unveiled the free Android operating system two years before Oracle bought Sun.

Protecting and profiting from Java software technology were prime reasons for Oracle's decision in 2009 to buy Sun, according to evidence presented at trial.

Part of the Google defense is that Oracle couldn't figure out a way into the smartphone market and is thus trying to leech off of Android's success by pressing claims regarding Java software that Sun made publicly available.

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