The jury deliberating the recent Google vs Oracle trial over the use of Java in Android have retired over the weekend in the hope they can agree on a verdict.
"If there is hope for reaching a verdict on all the questions, we should take advantage of that hope and spend one more day deliberating," Judge William Alsup said.
The jury has been presented with a form with several seconds relating the questions of whether Google infringes on Oracle’s copyright in some fashion. It’s not known which of the three questions put to the jury has yet to be decided. It’s some indication of the complexity of the case that the jury has already been deliberating all last week and now the weekend also, yet still cannot agree.
The case is considered particularly important, not just for potential damages that Google may be liable for but also whether APIs can be copyrighted. Previously it’s been thought that they could not and it’s on that basis that many different versions of the same standard such as programming languages have been implemented without fear of legal retribution.
Judge Alsup said that he would be willing to accept a partial verdict but clearly prefers that the 12-member jury find for all of the questions.
If on Monday morning the jury still cannot agree then a partial verdict will pave the way for a new trial on that matter, with a fresh jury. It will also, no doubt, result in a few extra methuselahs of champagne at the Ye Olde Lawyer’s Inn.