Judge accepts Oracle’s offer to streamline case, avoiding further postponement
A judge has confirmed that at long last Oracle and Google will meet on 16 April in a trial expected to last eight weeks.
The decision came after Oracle last week offered to drop a further three patents from its case, contesting only the ‘520 patent and the ‘104 “Gosling patent” in addition to its copyright infringement claims.
The trial will take place at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, where Oracle will finally seek to validate claims that Google infringed on its intellectual property in the Android operating system.
Oracle initially sued Google claiming that seven patents had been violated, but that number has been whittled down to two following re-examinations. Florian Mueller, author of the FOSS Patents blog, said he expected this number would be further streamlined to just one plus Oracle’s copyright claims.
“I guess the judge will try to get Oracle to withdraw the Gosling patent as well,” he wrote yesterday. “In that case, the case would be down to one patent, the ‘520 patent… If Oracle wants a one-patent trial, it will get it.”
Mueller noted that Judge Alsup’s decision will serve as a blow to Google, who had hoped for a full re-examination of all patent claims, resulting in trial date sometime this autumn. The judge also implored the search giant to quit its nitpicking.
“Google is hereby encouraged to withdraw its invalidity defences that have failed in the re-examination process as a way to further streamline the trial on the two patents remaining in suit,” Judge Alsup said in his order.
As both companies now prepare for court, Mueller suggested a pre-trial settlement could be possible. However, a successful result for Oracle will not be a multi-billion dollar payout.
“Oracle already made it clear months ago, and pointed out again and again over time, that its priority is to win an injunction against Android in order to ‘bring Android back into the Java fold’,” Mueller said.
“If Oracle wins an injunction based on copyrighted API-related material, it’s possible that Google will indeed have to accede to Oracle’s demand to adhere to the official Java standard (or that Google will have to pay a much higher price in order for Oracle to condone continued fragmentation of Java).”
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