A jury in a high-profile technology case ruled Monday that Google violated copyrights owned by Oracle Corp. for the Android mobile platform, but failed to agree on whether monetary damages should be paid.
Jurors were unable to decide on a key point of whether Google's use of copyrighted Java software was "fair use" that made it acceptable.
The verdict prevents any potential for an Oracle windfall, but the case now moves to another phase on whether Oracle's patents were violated.
"There has been zero finding of liability on any copyright so far," US District Court Judge William Alsup told the rival attorneys after the jury left his San Francisco courtroom.
"The affirmative defense of fair use is still in play."
Oracle accused Google of infringing on Java computer programming language patents and copyrights Oracle obtained when it bought Java inventor Sun Microsystems in a $7.4 billion deal in 2009.
Google has denied the claims and said it believes mobile phone makers and other users of its open-source Android operating system are entitled to use the Java technology in dispute.
The trial is being conducted in separate phases to address copyright and then patent infringement accusations by Oracle.
The Internet titan unveiled the free Android operating system two years before Oracle bought Sun.
Protecting and profiting from Java software technology were prime reasons for Oracle's decision in 2009 to buy Sun, according to evidence presented at trial.
Part of the Google defense is that Oracle couldn't figure out a way into the smartphone market and is thus trying to leech off of Android's success by pressing claims regarding Java software that Sun made publicly available.