We and, no doubt many of our readers, have been following the case of Oracle v Google very closely over the past few weeks, with the future of API legality held in the balance.
It was yesterday revealed, in the second phase of the three phase trial, that the Jury had reached the conclusion that Google did not violate any of Oracle's eight patent claims, which will see the firm receive a maximum fine of £200,000 in the third phase of the trial, for minor copyright infringements determined in stage one. Mind you, Judge William Alsup may still rule that code in the Java APIs can not become copyright, a ruling that many are eagerly waiting to hear.
It was later revealed that during the copyright phase, in regards to the issue of fair use, where a unanimous decision and thus a verdict could not be reached, the Jury had voted 9 - 3 in Google's favour, with many preferring the notion that programming APIs were functional as opposed to creative and, in general, more likely to apply to the notion of fair use.
It was mentioned by jury foreman, Greg Thompson, one of the final holdouts in favour of Oracle, that, there was a sense in the jury that an Oracle win might not have been in the public's best interest, though, Greg didn't speculate as to whether he thought this influenced the Jury's decision. Adding a view of balance to the jury, he also revealed that the group hadn't been impressed with Google relying on blog posts from former Sun CEO, Jonathan Schwartz.
It's this writer's humble opinion, mind you, that Jonathan's blog posts and comments were the only ones that mattered, as the active CEO of the time, Jonathan was the man that interacted with Google and also the man that made the business decision on behalf of the firm that if anything, it would have been better to pay Google to promote the use of Java, as opposed to collecting a licence fee.
We now await the third and final phase of the trial, which is to begin on and, without a jury present, will possibly end on Tuesday. Either way, Oracle's going to fall very short of its initial compensation claim of £630 million.