SAN FRANCISCO -- Jury deliberations in Oracle v. Google at the U.S. District Court of Northern California were placed on hold temporarily on Monday morning.
The move came after a female juror revealed to other members of the jury that she had a discussion about patents with her husband over the weekend.
However, after questioning another member of the jury, there appeared to be some debate over how much her husband works with patents. Denying that her husband is a patent lawyer, the juror in question then explained to the court that they discussed the time limit on patents.
After noting that she learned during court proceedings that copyrights last 95 years, the juror said that her husband informed her that patents are good for 17 years.
Nevertheless, she told the court that she had not been influenced by this conversation and that she had actually made up her mind about the case a week ago.
Judge William Alsup then sent the juror back to the jury room, keeping deliberations on hold. Again looking unsure about where to go from here, Alsup asked Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs and Google counsel Robert Van Nest if they wanted to interview more jurors to confirm what she told them. Jacobs said that wasn't necessary, but Van Nest wanted to hear from at least one more person.
Yet that didn't happen as Alsup decided to call the jury back out to the courtroom, giving them a brief lecture about the law and what they are not allowed to discuss about the case with their families and friends.
Alsup asked the 12-person jury if any of them had been influenced by the comment made based on information outside the trial. None of them raised their hands.
Thus, Alsup instructed the jury to go back to the deliberation room and continue verdict discussions.
Deliberations reached soap opera-like proportions already on Friday. The jury sent a note to Alsup just before going home for the weekend, informing the court that they had come to a unanimous decision on all questions but one — on which the jury said they were at an “impasse.”
However, when Alsup asked the jury foreman if they were ready, the foreman replied that not everyone actually wanted to send that note, explaining that the problem was the “timing” of sending it. Only a majority of the jurors believed they were at an impasse, but a few others think that if they wait until Monday, they could reach a unanimous vote on all counts.
In the end, Alsup favored this route, sending the jurors home to continue deliberations today.
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