A unanimous jury verdict in a San Francisco courtroom today found that Google did not need a license to use Java programming language in its Android operating system. The decision is a landmark in the nearly six years of litigation between Google and Oracle over the use of Java in Android.
Today’s verdict dealt a second blow to Oracle, which filed suit in 2010 and already lost a similar judgement in 2012. The earlier ruling, in which the judge concluded that Oracle’s Java copyright did not extend to “any and all ways to implement a function or specification,” was overturned on appeal.
The current trial, which began two weeks ago, centered on Android’s implementation of Java APIs. Oracle argued that Google effectively stole them, copying the lines of code wholesale to create its mobile operating system, now the world’s largest.
“We strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market,” Oracle General Counsel Dorian Daley said in a statement. “Oracle brought this lawsuit to put a stop to Google’s illegal behavior.”
Had today’s jury found in favor of Oracle, the Java owner was prepared to ask for around $9 billion in damages, based on an early expert report. Daley said Oracle intends to appeal the verdict.
Google claims that it did not need Oracle’s permission to use Java because its programmers were already familiar with the language. Its case relied on expert testimony from its former CEO Eric Schmidt, who helped develop the Java programming language when he worked at Sun Microsystems.
Schmidt told the jury that his many years of experience with Java led him to believe that Google was permitted to use the APIs, Bloomberg reported.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision.