Oracle suit vs Google over Android hits trial

2012-04-16 12:59
San Francisco - Jury selection in a high-stakes dispute over smartphone technology between Oracle Corp and Google Inc is set to begin here on Monday morning, kicking off a trial in which both companies' chief executives are set to take the stand.

Oracle sued Google in August 2010 over seven patents and copyright claims for the Java programming language, which Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems. According to Oracle, Google's Android operating system tramples on its intellectual property rights to Java.

Google says it doesn't violate Oracle's patents, and that Oracle cannot copyright certain parts of Java.

Early on, damages estimates ran as high as $6.1bn. But Google has narrowed Oracle's claims so that only two patents remain, reducing the possible damages that could be awarded. Oracle is seeking roughly $1 billion in copyright damages.

The trial before US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco is expected to last eight weeks. Alsup had told both companies last month that if they intended to settle the case, they should do it by April 13 at noon, in order to save potential jurors a trip to the courthouse. That deadline passed on Friday without any announcements.

Both Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page are listed on Oracle's list of potential witnesses. Oracle said in a court filing on Sunday that it anticipated Ellison and Page would be among its first witnesses.

Ellison is no stranger to the courtroom, having testified in a 2010 trial involving copyright claims that Oracle brought against SAP.

Ellison would testify about Oracle's reasons for acquiring Sun Microsystems, the importance of Java to Oracle's business, and the harm Android has caused Oracle, according to the witness list.

Page is a much more reclusive figure than Ellison. His testimony would include details about Google's business plan and marketing strategy for Android, including Google's recent acquisition of Motorola, the witness list shows.

The trial will be divided into three phases: copyright liability, patent claims and damages. Page could also testify about revenue and profit projections for Android, including advertising revenue, the witness list said.

The case in US District Court, Northern District of California, is Oracle America, Inc v Google Inc, 10-3561.

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