The judge overseeing the Oracle vs. Google patent-infringement case has set a trial date of April 16 to begin trying the casewhich is expected to take about eight weeks to complete.
On March 13, U.S. District Judge William Alsup entered an order setting April 16, 2012, as the definitive trial date for Oracle vs. Google at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The trial was originally set to start on Oct. 31, 2011, but was postponed.
In a March 13 post on the trial update, Florian Mueller, author of the FOSS Patents blog, who has been following the case closely, said Judge Alsup essentially adopted Oracles proposed course of action for the trial. Mueller said:
On Friday, the parties had to respond to questions concerning the trial-readiness and potential streamlining of the case. Oracle offered to withdraw up to three patents, provided that those stand rejected (even if on an appealable basis) at the time of a spring trial. This would narrow the case down to only two patents, and Oracle's mostly API-related copyright-infringement claims. Google, by contrast, argued that the case shouldn't go to trial before the fall. This scheduling order is totally in line with Oracle's proposala proposal that I admit I thought would have to be amended (such as by dropping one more patent).
Not only did the judge adopt Oracle's and reject Google's proposed course of action, but he also sided with Oracle in the final sentence of today's order on a streamlining issue. He said, "Google is hereby encouraged to withdraw its invalidity defenses that have failed in the reexamination process as a way to further streamline the trial on the two patents remaining in suit."
Meanwhile, relating to damages in the case, in his latest order Judge Alsup threw out some of Oracle's damages theories, Mueller said. Moreover, Mueller argues that at this point the case is no longer so much about damages. Said Mueller:
At any rate, damages are not what this case is primarily going to be about. At this stage, I don't think Oracle will win multi-billion dollar damages. But Oracle already made it clear months ago, and pointed out again and again over time, that its priority is to win an injunction against Android in order to "bring Android back into the Java fold." A patent-based injunction of narrow scope could be worked around. However, if Oracle wins an injunction based on copyrighted API-related material, it's possible that Google will indeed have to accede to Oracle's demand to adhere to the official Java standard (or that Google will have to pay a much higher price in order for Oracle to condone continued fragmentation of Java).