SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Oracle v. Google – once dubbed a landmark trial that would test the limits of copyrights and patents on technology – came to an abrupt end Friday, with a federal judge denying Oracle’s requests for summary judgment and a new trial.
In a single paragraph citing six of his previous orders, Judge Alsup effectively ended his affiliation with the trial and denied Oracle’s Rule 50(b) judgment as a matter of law motion as well as the company’s request for a new trial. Alsup’s ruling vacates the hearing previously set for July 26.
Oracle first sued Google in 2010 for copyright and patent infringement over the use of Java source code in Google’s Android phones. Oracle claimed that Google copied application programming interfaces (APIs) and technology patented by Sun Microsystems in order to rush the Android operating system to the market. Oracle acquired Sun and its Java technology in 2010.
In May, a jury handed down a mixed verdict in the copyright portion of the trial, finding that Google infringed Oracle’s copyrights for 37 of 166 Java APIs but not whether the copying constituted fair use. The jury cleared Google of other copyright infringement charges.
The same jury also cleared Google of patent infringement claims in the second phase of the trial, and U.S. District Judge William Alsup overturned the copyright infringement verdict when he decided that APIs cannot be copyrighted last month. Oracle responded to Alsup by filing a JMOL motion under Rule 50(b), and told the judge the company would accept a new trial in the alternative. Google scoffed at Oracle’s tenacity in a long-winded response to the latter company’s JMOL last week.
Oracle filed a response to Google’s opposition yesterday. A near-replica of its JMOL motion, Oracle lawyers reiterated that Oracle owns the Java copyrights, Google copied the copyrighted material, Alsup was wrong when he ruled that APIs are not copyrightable, and the jury returned the wrong verdict when it cleared Google of patent infringement. Oracle also asked Alsup again for a new trial.
The judge granted that request, except the new trial will be in a federal appeals court – not his courtroom.