Google executives are probably breathing a sigh of relief today after a jury ruled that the search giant did not infringe upon Oracle’s patents in the high-profile intellectual property battle being waged between two of the world’s largest and richest technology companies.
The jury was tasked with determining whether Google was guilty of patent infringment on eight separate claims involving Android.
Oracle believed that it had presented “overwhelming” evidence that Google infringed upon its patents and says that it will “continue to defend and uphold Java’s core write once run anywhere principle” that the company believes Google has harmed by its alleged infringement of Java-related patents. Translation: an appeal of the jury’s decision is all but assured.
Google, however, is celebrating, at least temporarily. It’s calling its victory a victory for the entire Android ecosystem, and while the issue over Google’s infringement of Oracle copyrights related to the Java API has yet to be resolved, assuming that the jury’s verdict today stands, it appears that the amount Google may have to pay to Oracle could be less than $1m if anything at all.
Obviously, it would be premature for Google to plan an extended celebration. This was a complex case with far-ranging implications, and some have called into question the instructions given to jurors. As such, the appeals process may produce fireworks. But even if it doesn’t, the battle between Oracle and Google highlights just how crazy intellectual property lawsuits — and patent lawsuits in particular — have become. After all, it’s quite possible that when all is said and done, both Oracle and Google will have spent more litigating than either could have gained (or in Google’s case lost) from a favorable decision.