A federal jury in San Francisco has reached an impasse on a key issue in Oracle's copyright-infringement case against Google, handing the database-software company a major setback. Oracle had been seeking up to $1 billion in damages on copyright claims after alleging that Google Inc. built its popular Android mobile software by stealing some of the technology from Java, a programming platform that Oracle Corp. bought two years ago.
In delivering a partial verdict today, the jury found that Google infringed on the largest of Oracle's claims, but it couldn't agree on whether Google's use was legally protected "fair use." Without that determination, it will be difficult for Oracle to win major damages. The jury also found that Google infringed on Oracle's copyright on nine lines of Java code that is in Android, but Oracle can only go after statutory damages on that one. Those damages can range from $200 to $150,000. Google is moving for a mistrial. (Read more Google Android stories.)