The Oracle vs Google court case rumbles on

Judge in Android patent case won’t split copyright claims like Oracle wanted

Chris Mayer

But we could get a trial date in mid-April. If all goes to plan.

The judge presiding over the Google/Oracle court case has ruled against Oracle’s plea to focus solely on copyright infringement claims in the near term – entering an order for the trial to begin in April without this specification by Oracle, if everything goes to plan.

Last week Oracle made the surprising move to enforce the first trial to look solely at the copyright infringement claims, mostly Google’s perceived usage of Java in the Android platform. FOSS Patents reported that Judge William Alsup rejected this approach, deeming it a “piecemeal approach” and a “luxury” the court’s scarce resources don’t allow. Google had previously advocated a halt in the proceedings of Oracle’s patent claims push and didn’t think much of their proposals, barely diginifying it with a response at all.

However, one of Oracle’s three proposals was to to take both the copyright and patent infringement claims to trial this spring, and this now looks a distinct possibility. Meanwhile, their offer to waive their right for a third damages report has been shunned by the judge, as he would prefer a resolution in the valuation of damages from Oracle.

Alsup is hopeful that the trial can go ahead as soon as possible, despite the recent contests over the trial structuring. Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents gave his view on recent events, and supported Oracle’s decision:

I think Oracle still did the right thing by making its proposal for a streamlining of the case. If nothing else, it at least showed to the judge that Oracle is very serious about its pressing need for this case to be resolved soon. If Oracle hadn’t demonstrated this with an action that spoke louder than words (by action I mean its formal offer to have the patent infringement claims stayed or dismissed without prejudice, and its offer to waive its right to revise its damages report), I’m not sure Judge Alsup would have offered the same way forward.

It appears that Oracle will accept this offer from the judge, a fair compromise in terms of what they wanted. But as ever, it could be highly unlikely that we’ll see this case meet that April deadline. With so many delays previously and both sides resistant to budging, we may not see a resolution for a while. If it hasn’t dragged along already, expect it to for the rest of 2012.

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