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Oracle v Google patent punchup probably postponed

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The first day of the Oracle versus Google patent trial is likely to be postponed from its current Halloween date to make way for an unrelated criminal case.

In a court filing on Wednesday, US District Judge William Alsup said the date would not yet be vacated "in hopes that the October 31st trial in the instant case can still go forward, even though that now seems unlikely".

Just the day before, the companies gave their side of the argument on whether or not the trial, or part of it, should be postponed anyway, pending the US Patent and Trademark Office's (PTO) re-examination of the patents in the lawsuit.

The court had asked Oracle if it was possible for the software company to narrow the number of its patent claims over Google's use of Java Standard Edition in its Android OS to an amount that was "more triable".

"The larger the number of patents and patent claims asserted, moreover, the more practical it will then seem to simply stay this case and see which claims survive PTO re-examination," the court ruled in May.

Google contends that "re-examinations are likely to narrow the set of asserted claims significantly".

"As of this date, the PTO has rejected all of the asserted claims of four of the six patents; the PTO has not yet issued an office action with respect to one of the patents; and the PTO has confirmed the patentability of the asserted claims of only a single patent over the cited art," the web advertising juggernaut said in its argument.

The Chocolate Factory asserts that for that reason, the court should delay the case until re-examinations are done.

For its part, Oracle has argued that there's no good reason to stay the case, since both companies have already done a lot to prepare for trial.

"It would be wasteful to lose the investment the parties have made in their time, energy, money, and executive attention by now putting the case on hold," Oracle said in its filing.

The company asserts that waiting on the USPTO could take years, so it would be "unjust" to postpone the trial. Oracle also points out that its copyright claims are separate from the patent dispute, so they shouldn't be postponed.

Oracle wants to hang on to as many claims as possible and bag a quick trial because that could put enough pressure on Google to settle. The strategy could work simply because the greater the number of issues in question, the more chance there is of some of them being upheld and Google could be unwilling to take that risk at trial. ®

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