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Oracle vs. Google jury reaches partial verdict; judge calls for additional deliberation

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The jury in the Oracle vs. Google infringement case reached a partial verdict, coming to a unanimous decision on all but one of the four questions it needs to decide. Rather than accepting a partial verdict, however, Judge Alsup instructed the jury to think about the case over the weekend and continue deliberations on Monday.

android robot doll (1020)
android robot doll (1020)

Yesterday one of the jurors in the Oracle vs. Google trial signaled that the jury was having difficulty making a decision — to the point that they were concerned a consensus wouldn't be reached at all. Today the jury notified Judge William Alsup via a note that it had reached a unanimous decision on all but one question, but was otherwise at "an impasse." However, upon entering the courtroom, the foreperson stated to Judge Alsup that not all members of the jury thought sending the note today had been necessary, with some jurors thinking they could have reached a decision if given the weekend to think over the case further.

"We should take advantage of that hope and spend one more day..."

Judge Alsup then asked attorneys for both Google and Oracle if they were ready to receive the partial verdict, given the non-unanimous sentiment about the jury's deadlocked status. After conferring with both of their respective teams, Oracle counsel Michael Jacobs and Google counsel Robert Van Nest spoke privately with Judge Alsup. Van Nest in particular seemed to be making his point rather urgently; we know from yesterday's discussions that Van Nest does not feel that a partial verdict is acceptable. Afterwards, Alsup told the jurors that if there was still any possibility of a unanimous decision being reached on the full slate of questions, "we should take advantage of that hope and spend one more day deliberating."

The jury was then sent home, with the judge hoping that on a "fresh, bright Monday morning" a complete verdict could be rendered. Unfortunately, it wasn't revealed just which question was causing friction for the jury, but the foreperson did state that it was one of the first three questions they're tasked with answering (the fourth is simply an advisory question to provide Judge Alsup with additional information moving forward). All indications seem to be that the jury is having difficulty in determining whether Google's infringement is allowed under fair use; of course, that's simply reading tea leaves at the moment, and we won't know for sure until the jury reaches a complete decision — or Judge Alsup decides to move things along with a partial verdict. The jury is scheduled to meet again on Monday at 8AM PT.