Monday, April 30, 2012

Oracle v. Google: definitive copyright-related jury instructions and special verdict form

I started writing this quick post while Judge Alsup was reading the first part of the copyright-related jury instructions to the jurors who will later today, and possibly for more days to follow, decide on the copyright liability issues in Oracle v. Google. Here's the document -- I'll provide some comment below:

12-04-30 Oracle v Google Copyright-related Jury Charge and Verdict Form

Earlier today I blogged about Oracle's and Google's objections to the jury instructions and the verdict form. Judge Alsup has not granted many of the parties' requests for edits, and especially not changed anything over which the parties had a serious dispute.

These are the changes (other than simple grammatical changes such as replacing "virtual identity" with "virtually identical" that I have identified:

  • Instruction 27

    This is one of various instructions that mention the de minimis (too small to matter) defense. Here, the judge inserted a clarification that this defense relates only to the rangeCheck function and about a dozen files, but not to the structure, sequence and organization of the 37 asserted APIs:

    "To be clear with respect to a different issue. The parties are in agreement that the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages is more than de minimis."

    Oracle didn't propose this particular context, but it wanted this clarification.

  • Instruction 29

    In connection with the term "work as a whole", the judge accomodated Oracle's request not to overemphasize the word "all" in a couple of instances.

  • Instruction 30: public dedication

    Google said that the question of whether Sun dedicated the Java APIs to the public (something that Google claims to have occurred, though I'm unaware of any hard evidence) is still an issue the jury needs to consider. Accordingly, Judge Alsup deleted the statement that "Google makes no such contention in this trial".

  • Special Verdict Form, Question 3: verbatim copying

    Judge Alsup inserted the parentheticals "infringing"/"not infringing" below the Yes/No answers. This is a clarification on which the parties agreed.

  • Special Verdict Form, Question 4: issues relevant to Google's equitable defenses

    The judge granted Google's request to refer to "Questions 4A and 4B", for the sake of clarification, as opposed to "these questions" or "these interrogatories".

I later double-checked if there were any other edits worth reporting on, but didn't find any. My first version of this blog post already listed all of the relevant ones.

In other news relating to this case, the father of Java, James Gosling, stated that "Google slimed Sun" and that "Oracle is in the right" with this lawusuit. He says then-Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz only decided to put on a happy face, which annoyed many people at Sun.

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