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Google Files For New Trial On Copyright Claims In Android Suit

Google is seeking a new trial on copyright claims in Oracle’s intellectual-property lawsuit over the Android mobile OS, according to a filing made late Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Oracle sued Google in August 2010, claiming Android violated patents and copyrights that Oracle holds on the Java programming language, which it gained control of through the Sun Microsystems acquisition. Google has argued that Android is a “clean room” implementation of the open-source language, and doesn’t violate Oracle’s rights.

This week, a jury delivered a partial verdict on the copyright claims in the case, finding that Google had infringed the “overall structure, sequence and organization” of the code in 37 Java APIs (application programming interfaces). However, it did not answer the question of whether Google’s infringement was protected under “fair use” of copyrighted works.

Google’s move for a new trial was not unexpected, having been foreshadowed in court after the verdict by its attorney, Robert Van Nest.

“Under settled Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit law, the jury’s failure to reach a verdict concerning both halves of this indivisible question requires a new trial concerning both questions,” Google said in a brief accompanying its motion on Tuesday.

The court should declare a mistrial on both the copyright infringement and fair use questions, since doing so only regarding fair use would “violate the Seventh Amendment–both by threatening Google with a non-unanimous verdict on liability, and by having determination of the same factual question, or indivisible factual questions, made by two different juries,” Google added.

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