The lawsuit between Oracle and Google over the potential infringement of patents and copyrights – which, if things go Oracle’s way, could result in changes to the functionality and price of Google’s Android devices – is reportedly close to an end, with the jury said to be decided on all but one of the four questions in front of them.
A report in ZDNet says that the jury, which has been in deliberation since lawyers for both sides offered closing arguments on Monday, has come to a unanimous verdict on three of the questions but remains “at an impasse” on the final question. The jury notified presiding judge, William Alsup, just past noon PDT today, informing him that they had come a partial verdict, with a new court session convened as a result. However, during the new session, the jury foreman explained that not everyone on the jury actually believed that they were at an impasse on the final question, with some believing that a unanimous vote on all counts was possible with more time.
Frustratingly for journalists and other nosy parkers, Judge Alsup prevented the foreman from revealing which of the four issues was causing the problem; according to ZDNet’s Rachel King, the foreman was about to give away the question but was cut off by the judge “just in time.” After speaking to legal counsel for both companies, Judge Alsup asked the jury to go home for the weekend before coming back to vote again on Monday, reminding them that they are not allowed to do any additional research on either company while serving as jury members.
The possibility of a verdict on Monday will mean an end to the almost-two year long trial between the companies, which itself is the result of conflict over whether Google’s Android operating system is infringing on copyrights and patents Oracle had filed between 1997 and 2003. Before the trial, Google had been successful in limiting the scope of Oracle’s claims but still have commented that a loss in this suit would “cripple Android” as we know it. We might see as early as next week just how true such a claim turns out to be.