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12 angry consumers: The Oracle/Google trial for Android now has a jury

After months and months of mediation talks, Google and Oracle are heading to a trial over Android, and the jury is selected and ready to go.

Reuters reporter Dan Levine took to Twitter today to give juicy tidbits about the jury selection process.

The final jury includes five men and seven women from a diverse range of professions. The decision makers for this landmark case on programming language copyright include a plumber, a nurse, a retired photographer, a store designer for Gap, a city bus driver, and a postal worker.

A few folks, including engineers from HP and Cisco and two lawyers, were dismissed as potential jurors. Levine also noted that Judge William Alsup told jurors “that if they buy an Android phone during the trial he’ll probably have to have evidentiary hearing. Lotsa laughs.”

Alsup also told jurors that if they read a single word from the mainstream or tech press regarding the trial, “There will be an evidentiary hearing and possible contempt of court,” Levine said.

The whole dispute started with Java, the open-source programming language that has been owned by Oracle ever since a strategic acquisition in early 2010. Google has used Java for Android since before Android’s public debut in 2008. However, Oracle argues that the Android maker is violating several patents and copyrights with Android and is demanding a per-device licensing fee — which might be enough to ruin Android’s already small revenues.

This is an extremely complicated matter coming into the courtroom — one that involves the intricacies of patent law, the mind-boggling complexities of mobile programming, the quagmire that is open-source software litigation, and the he-said-she-said nature of any discussion about and between two tech companies. The naiveté of the jurors in such matters might strike some as a disadvantage to all parties involved, but these San Franciscans are bring something better than sophistication and experience to their deliberations: fresh eyes and (hopefully) common sense.

So, what happens to Android in a worst-case scenario? “From a consumer standpoint, consumers should not be concerned about losing their Android phone,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat in a recent phone chat. “There’s no indication that Android is under threat… We’re actively pushing back on Oracle to preserve choice in the marketplace in the long term.”

The jury is hearing opening statements from Oracle and Google attorneys as we prepare to publish this post. Stay tuned for more from the thrilling and complicated trial that will decide the fate of Android.

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