Judge delays Google vs. Oracle Android patent trial to 2012


A new court order from the federal judge overseeing Oracle's patent infringement suit against Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system states the case will not go to trial until sometime next year.

The Google/Oracle trial was previously slated to begin Oct. 31, but last week, United States District Judge William Alsup postponed the date due to scheduling conflicts with a major criminal trial. On Wednesday, Alsup filed a proposed trial plan indicating proceedings will "not be in 2011"--he goes on to state "The Court needs some lead time to pre-clear a venire for hardship for a long trial," meaning potential jurors can expect to dedicate a substantial amount of time to hearing testimony. Alsup does not suggest when he expects the trial to begin.

An Oracle suit filed last year seeks billions in damages against Google, alleging "approximately one-third of Android's Application Programmer Interface (API) packages" are "derivative of Oracle's copyrighted Java API packages" and related documents. (Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems and its Java programming language in April 2009.) According to court filings submitted in late June, Oracle wants Google to pay $0.9 billion to $1.4 billion upfront for infringing on its patents. Oracle also wants 15 percent of mobile advertising revenues generated across the Android platform. Late last year, Google said its mobile ad business operates at a run rate of $1 billion annually.

In August, Google senior vice president and chief legal officer David Drummond published a scathing blog post alleging that Oracle, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are attempting to "strangle" the Android platform by leveraging "bogus patents" that could drive up costs for devices running the OS. Drummond adds that Google's rivals have banded together to acquire patents held by firms like Nortel and Novell "to make sure Google didn't get them... Our competitors want to impose a 'tax' for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation."

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