Oracle v. Google: Did the jury really understand it?
This morning, my friend Steven A. Shaw decided to take a very unpopular stance regarding the Oracle v. Google trial.
A litigator's view: Three things I know about Oracle v. Google
Google kicks Oracle in its patent teeth
Most people who I have spoken to in the computer industry about the trial feel that Google was the stronger party in the case, and that the open sourcing of Java into GPL2 by Sun some years before heavily damaged Oracle's credibility.
While I too have to claim some bias in favor of Google, being an open source advocate myself, I still have a number of reservations about the way the trial itself was conducted, and much of it comes down to the jury selection process and some very unusual biases and lack of expertise that regular off the street folks have about the technology industry.
I've never been a juror in a trial, be it civil or criminal. But like many other people, I've had to report for Jury Duty. In the state of New Jersey in which I currently live, one gets selected typically every four years. Most of the time, you get to wait in a big room all day to see if you're going to be part of a selection process, or even more frequently, you call in that morning to see if they even want you to report to duty at all.
If you do get called in from that waiting room, you then head into an actual courtroom where the attorneys from each side begin the selection process. This process, which is referred to as voir dire , has been in use for many decades.
If you are lucky enough to get called on the stand, they ask you basic stuff like where you live, what you do for a living, and what sort of things you have experience with and even what hobbies and interests you have. ...