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Google Inc. (GOOG) filed papers for a new trial over Oracle Corp.'s (ORCL) claims that Google's Android mobile software infringes upon copyrights that protect Oracle's Java technology, arguing that a jury's recent mixed verdict could violate its constitutional rights.
Google, which had previously indicated in court it would move for a mistrial after the jury deliberating in the case delivered a mixed verdict on Google's use of key Java interfaces, said in a court filing it wants a new trial to decide the matter.
Oracle countered in its own court filing that rather than retrying the issue, the judge overseeing the case should simply intervene with a decision of his own that would take the place of the mixed verdict--which found Google guilty of some infringement, but also significantly lessened Oracle's ability to recover a large amount in damages.
However, Judge William Alsup opted late Wednesday to not take up the matter on his own, dealing a potential setback to Oracle.
Representatives from Oracle and Google declined to comment.
Google and Oracle have already moved on from the copyrights portion of the trial taking place in San Francisco and are now facing off over related patent infringement claims. A third damages phase of the trial will follow.
Oracle sued Google in August 2010, alleging Android infringes upon copyrights and patents associated with Java, which Oracle obtained when it had purchased Sun Microsystems earlier that year.
The jury delivered a verdict on Monday that found Google did infringe copyrights Oracle says protect Java interfaces. However, the jury was unable to reach a decision on whether that was protected by the so-called fair use doctrine, which permits some limited use of copyrighted works. That effectively left Oracle's ability to recover any money as a result of the infringement of the interfaces in question.
The jury did also find that Google infringed a small amount of Java source code with Android, though potential damages associated with that would likely be statutory, or relatively minimal.
Google argued in a filing made late Tuesday that a failure to have a retrial on both the questions of its alleged infringement and fair use of Java interfaces would violate the Internet heavyweight's rights under the seventh amendment, which protects the right to a jury trial.
Oracle, meanwhile, argued that a new jury would have to be empanelled to retry the copyright issues, which would be expensive and time-consuming. Instead, the business software company argued--unsuccessfully--that Judge Alsup should decide whether Google's appropriation of Java interfaces is protected as fair use.
Barring that, Oracle argued that it should be entitled to more than just statutory damages as a result of the jury's verdict that Google infringed a small amount of Java code, and should be entitled to a share of Google's Android-related profits.
"Oracle is not claiming that it is entitled to all Android profits due to Google's infringement," Oracle said in the filing.
Oracle has said it is owed roughly $1 billion in damages as a result of Google's alleged infringement, and may seek an injunction blocking the sale of Android devices.
-By John Letzing, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-765-8230; [email protected]