Oracle offers to drop patent charges against Google, to speed trial

Oracle may be sacrificing the patent charges in hopes of getting an injunction soon

Apparently fed up with delays, Oracle said it is willing to drop its claims of patent infringement against Google if the court will hear its copyright complaints soon.

The move is intended to speed up the possibility of an injunction against Android phones, patent expert Florian Mueller wrote in a blog post. "Oracle's priorities are clear: more than anything else, it wants an injunction. Oracle wants that injunction as soon as possible, and it is willing to bet, in the near term, on the copyright part of its case," he wrote.

In a filing made Tuesday, Oracle lays out a number of proposals to the court designed to move the case along. Oracle initially asks that the court "sever and stay" the patent claims and set a trial date on the copyright claims soon, in winter or spring this year. During the time the copyright claims are at trial, Oracle could work on its third attempt at a damages estimate, one of the current holdups in the case. The court could then try the patent charges.

If the judge doesn't like that idea, Oracle asks the court to dismiss the patent charges without prejudice. That would allow Oracle to proceed with the copyright claims and potentially file a new patent infringement case in the future.

A third scenario Oracle puts forth would happen if the court neither stays nor dismisses the patent claims. In that scenario, Oracle would ask for a trial date in the next few months on both the copyright and the patent claims. Oracle would make do with the damages analysis that has been already approved by the court.

"Oracle's proposal -- or set of prioritized proposals, to be precise -- is a bold move," Mueller wrote. Google has been pushing for a stay of the patent claims and Oracle has opposed it, he said.

In the same Tuesday filing, Oracle said it won't give up on its plan to present the so-called Lindholm email to a jury. Google has been fighting hard to prevent Oracle from showing it.

The email message suggests that Google knew it needed a license for Java.

"What we've actually been asked to do by Larry and Sergey is to investigate what technology alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome," Google engineer Tim Lindholm wrote in the email, shortly before Oracle filed suit, referring to Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. "We've been over a hundred of these and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java."

Oracle is charging Google, in part, with infringing Java patents and copyrights in Android. Google denies any wrongdoing.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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