San Fransisco: A federal court jury is having a difficult time reaching a verdict in a complex copyright infringement trial pitting Oracle against Google.
A question posed late Thursday in a note from one of the 12 jurors raised the specter of an impasse.
The note asked US District Judge William Alsup what would happen if jurors couldn’t agree on a verdict. The note also indicated some jurors weren’t budging from their positions.
The question came after more than 20 hours of jury deliberations spread over four days.
Alsup called the jury into the courtroom to give them a pep talk before sending them home for the day.
The jury is debating Oracle Corp’s allegations that Google Inc stole some of the technology used in popular Android software for smartphones.
The discussion on Thursday of the finances of what has become the world’s leading mobile operating software in just four years came during a damages hearing in high stakes litigation between Oracle and Google over smartphone technology.
In a hearing outside the jury’s presence on Thursday, US District Judge William Alsup quizzed attorneys for both companies about some of the Android financial information submitted in the case.
Alsup had sealed an internal 2011 Google document which contains profit and loss numbers for Android in 2010. However, the judge read aloud certain portions of it in court on Thursday.
The judge did not disclose the specific loss figures for Android, but said it lost money in each quarter of 2010.
“That adds up to a big loss for the whole year,” Alsup said.
Google does not publicly report financial information about Android. The company announced the operating system in 2007, and the first Android phone was shipped in 2008.
Oracle contends that Google should not be able to deduct certain Android expenses for the purposes of copyright damages in the case. However, Google spokesman Jim Prosser said Oracle misrepresented its financial numbers.
Oracle sued Google in August 2010, saying Android infringes on its intellectual property rights to the Java programming language. Google says it does not violate Oracle’s patents and that Oracle cannot copyright certain parts of Java, an “open-source,” or publicly available, software language.
The trial has been divided into three phases: copyright liability, patent claims, and damages. It began in April and is expected to last at least eight weeks.
The case in US District Court, Northern District of California, is Oracle America, Inc v. Google Inc, 10-3561.