After mixed copyright win over Google, Oracle looks towards patents

The next phase of the trial will consider whether or not Google violated two patents associated with Java.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle v. Google is moving full speed ahead into phase two of the trial, focusing on two charges of patent infringement associated with Java.

However, after a morning debating motions for evidence and witnesses for phase two as well as a debacle that temporarily placed jury deliberations on hold, only Oracle's lead attorney Michael Jacobs had time to deliver his 45-minute opening statement on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, the jury came to a partial verdict about charges of copyright infringement. Although the results were a mixed bag, the jury ultimately found for Oracle, finding Google guilty of copyright infringement.

However, the jury could not come to a unanimous decision about Google's fair use argument, prompting Google's lead attorney Robert Van Nest to move for an immediate mistrial for the first phase of the case. Arguments for a mistrial will be heard on Tuesday and Thursday this week as the matter needs to be resolved before damages can be determined.

Trying to ease the tension in the courtroom after the confusing verdict, Jacobs quipped, "I think you'll be pleased to know that fair use is not an issue in the patent case."

Essentially, the two patents at question here focus on the improvement of memory and performance in relation to mobile devices.

For example, one term we're bound to hear bounced around by the plaintiff and defense over the next couple of week is "symbolic reference," which Jacobs defined as a reference that identifies data by name other than the numeric memory location of the data, and that is resolved dynamically rather than statically.

The point of making symbolic references the heart of Oracle's case is because Oracle argues that Android relies on symbolic reference resolution to run faster.

In a college lecture-like fashion, Jacobs explained the Java platform components stack to the jury, extending from the Java application source code, down to the Java computer, Java byte code, Java virtual machine, and computing device. He then compared that to Android's platform components, highlighting the identical process for the Java application source code to the Java compiler.

But even more pointedly, Jacobs outlined four faults with Google's case in this half of the trial, positing that Google has no excuses this time around:

  • Patented inventions are not free
  • Google has no fair use defense
  • The truth is in Google's own source code
  • Google needs a license to use patents

Furthermore, it's important to note that Oracle is not only suing Google for patent infringement for use of these patents in-house, but also for induced infringement, which would hold Google liable for infringement by someone else.

In this case, that refers to the developers and mobile OEMs because Google made Android publicly available for these ecosystem partners to download.