May 7, 2012 - Though much more remains to be decided in the much-anticipated patent lawsuit between Oracle and Google, the jury delivered a partial verdict that gave each side something to cautiously celebrate.
The jury found that Google did infringe Oracle's copyrights for Java APIs (Application Programming Interfaces, which are programming tools), and that the Google Android operating system infringes nine lines of code.
However, the judge will have to decide if the Java copyright can apply to the APIs, and if so, whether Google's use of Java's open-source technology was a fair use (and thus legal and non-infringing). Developers are especially interested in the outcome of this part of the case, because if copyright applies to the APIs - which allow many different types of applications to interact with one another - then many apps for Android and numerous open source projects would be liable for copyright infringement.
As for the outcome of the case, which could be months or years away, many tech experts believe that Oracle will be awarded some amount of damages - just probably not the $1 billion Oracle is asking for based on its claims of copyright infringement.
Google is moving for a mistrial. The next phase of the trial, with the same jury, concerns whether Google infringed two Java patents.