A US jury has found that internet giant Google breached copyright in a case brought by Oracle over its Java programming language.
But the jurors were unable to agree on whether Google’s actions constituted “fair use” under copyright law.
Oracle was asking for $1bn (£630m) in compensation in one of the biggest such technology lawsuits to date.
The language is used by many business applications as well as other software, such as the video game Minecraft.
Google was found to have infringed Oracle’s copyright on nine lines of Java code “Range Check Method” that is in Android, its mobile operating system
Google is asking for a mistrial to be declared.
The case did not centre on Google’s use of Java itself – which is free for anyone to use without licence – but rather the Android-maker’s use of 37 application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow developers to write Java-compatible code.
Java was first released in 1995 and allows software to be run across computer platforms, rather than just being limited to one type of operating system.
Oracle – a business hardware and software provider – inherited the intellectual properties when it took over Java’s original developer, Sun Microsystems, in 2009.
Oracle argued that by using its intellectual property, and then giving Android away for free, Google undermined the possibility of it licensing Java to mobile phone makers.
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.