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Oracle Google set for March court showdown over Android patent dispute

Chris Mayer

Compromise over date and structure of the trial to keep both hopefully appeased

Well it’s finally happened. After being postponed from Halloween of last year, the jury trial between Oracle and Google over Android patents has been scheduled for March 19, 2012

Judge William Alsup, presiding over the case filed the date yesterday, perhaps finally signalling an end to this bitter dispute over Java patents. Although both sides have seven days to file objections to the pretrial order if they wish.

As ever, intellectual property expert Florian Mueller was first on the case, revealing more details about the upcoming trial date. Given the magnitude of the action filed, the trial will be trifurcated (split into three parts), a structure that isn’t to Oracle’s liking but the compromise for them is that the date is sooner than Google’s summer preference.

According to Mueller, the three parts of the trial will be before the same 12 members of the jury and deal with the following aspects:

  1. The first part will deal with copyright infringement liability.
  2. The second trial phase will address patent infringement liability.
  3. Phase three will deal with “all remaining issues”, particularly with “damages and willfulness”.

Mueller also notes that ‘Testimony won’t be recorded and witnesses won’t appear twice. Testimony will be given once and can then be referenced in subsequent trial phases.’

This may well rumble on all year but at least we have a clearer overview of how things might plan out. If we’re lucky.

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