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Earlier today, a California jury cleared Google of all claims of patent infringement brought by Oracle. The trial, which had been in its 23rd day, concluded with a unanimous decision that Android did not infringe on six claims in U.S. Patent RE38,104 as well as two claims in U.S. Patent number 6,061,520. In the space of two weeks, Oracle’s visions (some would say hallucinations) of up to $6 billion in damages have gone up in smoke.
Linux creator Linus Torvalds called the suit “idiotic” but predicted Oracle would “come out posturing and talk about how they’ll be vindicated, and pay lawyers to take it to the next level of idiocy.” The good news, though, is that this ruling has removed one of the darkest clouds hanging over Google and Android. Oracle can appeal, but their prospects don’t look good.
There is still an unsettled copyright question, but even in the unfortunate event that the judge ruled against Google on that part, we’re only talking about 9 lines of code out of millions. Lines which were immediately removed from the Android source when somebody pointed them out.
I find it refreshing that in this trial, both the Judge and jury proved to be much smarter than the lawyers.