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Judge sets date for Google v Oracle showdown

Springtime for Ellison in California

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A pretrial order from the California courts has set the dates for the forthcoming trial between Oracle and Google over the rights and wrongs of Java’s intellectual property rights.

The trial will commence on or after 19 March, according to court documents, and will be split into three sessions: copyright infringement liability, patent infringement liability, and then damages and “remaining issues.” Judge William Alsup filed the orders, saying that the statements by witnesses should not be recorded and witnesses will not be allowed multiple visits to the stand.

“Judge Alsup hopes that the copyright decision all by itself could create enough pressure on the parties to settle,” patent watcher Florian Mueller told The Register. “I think Oracle would still want the patent trial to take place if it doesn't win the copyright part, but if Oracle wins the copyright trial, there could be pressure on Google to settle depending on the scope of the first verdict.”

Oracle had been hoping for an early trial but the date gives Google considerable time to marshal its defenses. Larry Ellison is known to favor a blitzkrieg attack on legal issues and the extra time, and the trial format, could give Google an advantage.

“What Google is really keen to get is a three-part trial,” Mueller explained. “This way they hope to be able to present some evidence in phase three (the remedies phase) that the judge might not allow at a previous stage, especially the state of the ongoing patent reexaminations.” ®

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