It was reported yesterday that in Google’s trial regarding Oracle’s accusations that the search giant infringed upon Java API patents in the development of its Android operating system, the jury has just found that no copyrights were violated. And apparently, Oracle never had much of a chance of winning, according to the foreman of the jury, who pointed out that the 12 were split 9-3 in Google’s favor. Now Penn Law Professor R. Polk Wagner speculates that Oracle might’ve spent as much as $10 million on the lengthy trial, all for naught.
“I would assume this is a several million dollar trial,” Wagner told Ars Technica, adding, “Six weeks is a long trial, plus the case was fairly complex. I would not be surprised if (Oracle’s costs were) more than $10 million once you include the enormous amount of prep work.” Technology attorney Denise Howell points out that though Google too ran up a large tab for its defense, this is obviously easier to handle when one wins, and adds that Oracle might’ve actually spent tens of millions of dollars on the case. And even with the jury’s latest verdict, the trial isn’t over. Patent cases are typically ran by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, so the latest ruling isn’t yet set in stone.
Still, the presiding Judge William Alsup has already dismissed the jury, and the damages phase of the trial has been cancelled. Oracle released a statement on the present state of the proceedings – “Oracle presented overwhelming evidence at trial that Google knew it would fragment and damage Java. We plan to continue to defend and uphold Java’s core write once run anywhere principle and ensure it is protected for the nine million Java developers and the community that depend on Java compatibility.”
Oracle brought famous attorney David Boies on board, who had previously represented the Justice Department in the United States v. Microsoft and Al Gore in Bush v. Gore – and Boies will likely be running a tab for the next long while. Howell adds, “Oracle could definitely still get something out of this,” regarding the appeals process, though it’s evident that Oracle plainly wasted a lot of effort and money on little, if nothing.