Jury foreman: Oracle wasn't even close in patent phase

After verdict that Google did not infringe on two of Oracle's patents and jury is dismissed, jury foreman discusses deliberations with reporters.

After a jury today decided that Google did not infringe on two of Oracle's patents , it was revealed that most of the jury seemed to embrace Google's patent arguments during the trial.

After the verdict was handed down at the U.S. District Court of Northern California and the jury was dismissed, jury foreman Greg Thompson stopped in the hall to answer reporters' questions regarding deliberations. At one point during deliberations in the Java API copyright phase, Thompson said, he was the lone holdout, managing to swing a couple of jurors to his side, according to a report in Ars Technica.

From the beginning of deliberations in the patent phase, most jurors were siding with Google's argument, with a few undecided, Thompson said. As the lone pro-Oracle holdout, Thompson said the judge's curt responses to the jury's questions were of "limited helpfulness," and he eventually realized that he was making no progress toward swaying other jurors to his side.

Thompson said the jury did not deliberate long in the infringement phase, which Oracle won in a split decision. The sentiment among jurors was that the answer to that question had been dictated to them during Judge William Alsup's instruction to the jury that they must assume that the APIs are copyrighted.

"We felt that the judge's instructions put us a lot of the way towards finding infringement," Thompson told reporters.

The jury opted instead to focus on the issue of fair use, deciding that the APIs were more of a functional tool rather than a creative.

"A lot of the jurors were focused on functionality versus creativity," said Thompson, with a majority "putting greater weight on functionality."

Today's unanimous verdict was a big win for Google and marks the end of the trial's second phase, which focused on the claims of patent infringement. Closing arguments in the case were made last week. After the decision, a third phase -- centering on damages -- was canceled.

After dismissing the jury, Alsup noted this was the longest civil trial he had been a part of and said he still needs to decide a related copyright issue within the case, which remains unresolved.

 

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