Two Larrys to go head-to-head in Google-Oracle case
Page vs Ellison in Larry-tastic Java wrestle
It's on: Ellison versus Page. The top executives of Oracle and Google have been ordered to get in a room together and try to resolve their multi-billion-dollar Java patent clash like grown-ups, face to face.
The Larrys must show up on September 19 at 9am Pacific time, a US magistrate has said in a written court order. The Oracle and Google chief executives must also be prepared for further appearances between September 20 and 30, the magistrate has ordered here and picked up here.
Lawyers for Google and Oracle must appear on September 14.
Mediation was ordered last week by the judge hearing Oracle's $2.6bn prosecution of Google over claimed violations of patents in Java, which Oracle acquired with Sun Microsystems. Trial is now looming in the year-old case.
US judge William Alsup had said he was considering whether the "top executive officers" for both sides should be in attendance for at least two full days of talks. He asked the companies to draw up a list of attendees.
Ellison is no stranger to industry-court actions, having taken the stand in California during his company's red-blooded prosecution of SAP over defunct subsidiary TomorrowNow. Ellison, though, appeared a little reluctant to enter the ring on this particular occasion, however, and Oracle proffered one of his top lieutenants instead – the extremely capable president and chief financial officer Safra Catz.
Geeky Page is a court virgin, though, and Google sought to shield its man by offering up the executive in charge of the allegedly offending Android operating system Andy Rubin.
Now the US magistrate has banged both companies' heads together pointing out they clearly didn't get the hint first time around when Alsup said "top" executive officers. It's CEO time.
Oracle launched its suit against Google in August 2010 claiming 132 claims of violations involving Java on mobile by Android. Google's mobile operating system uses a subset of an implementation of Java Standard Edition from the Apache Software Foundation called Harmony, while Oracle would rather mobile on Java is based on the official Java Mobile Edition (Java ME) flavor.
Google is reported to have argued it's clear of any blame on Android, as code for its operating system came from outside the US. Quoting a Microsoft versus. AT&T Supreme-Court ruling, Google attorney Robert Van Nest said: "It is not patent infringement when allegedly infringing software supplied from the United States to device makers in foreign countries must be copied by those manufacturers before it can be loaded onto the devices." ®
From a lawyer at Groklaw
"I can tell you from personal experience in mediation the last person you want in the room is the CEO. That is a recipe for disaster. For a mediation to have a chance, the representatives need to be able to check their egos at the door, listen to the other side and the mediator, and provide the CEO of the company the flexibility to make a call on settlement without having to be personally present. Unfortunately, with this move Judge Alsup and the magistrate have almost assured another failed mediation."
Also, unless the two parties agree otherwise (unlikely) the mediation will be completely confidential - so no opportunity to read about entertaining bustups between the two I'm afraid.
I wish we could book front row seats for this. Larry slowly and methodically skinning larry.
Google should be thankful if they get away with less than 5bn after this meeting.
Bootnote is incorrect
From the bootnote: "Google is reported to have argued it's clear of any blame on Android, as code for its operating system came from outside the US." - no, it's arguing that (per Groklaw) "the loading of Android onto devices outside the United States and any subsequent use of those devices outside the United States is excluded from the patent infringement claims.", so no damages relating to overseas profits from Android devices, unless the actual devices (i.e., not the code) are imported to the US, or exported from the US.