Oracle, Google trial set for April start

The long-simmering case is expected to last eight weeks

Oracle's intellectual property lawsuit against Google over the Android mobile OS will go to trial on April 16, according to a judge's order filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Jury selection will begin on that day for the trial, which will be conducted in three phases, Judge William Alsup said in his order. The trial should take approximately eight weeks, Alsup added.

Oracle sued Google in August 2010, alleging that Android was in violation intellectual property Oracle holds on Java, the open-source programming language. Google has denied wrongdoing, saying that Android is a "clean room" implementation of Java that doesn't violate Oracle's rights.

Google had asked the US Patent and Trade Office to re-examine Oracle's patents, a tactic that paid off. Oracle withdrew a number of its patent claims after receiving some adverse rulings from the USPTO. Now only two patents remain in contention, along with a number of Java copyrights.

One open question remains around the scope of potential damages in the case. Also on Tuesday, Alsup issued a ruling that rejected some aspects of an expert's third damages report submitted by Oracle, but allowed others.

"Since a court-appointed independent damages expert will present his views to the jury, it's quite possible that whatever positions the parties' own experts take will bear only limited weight," patent expert and blogger Florian Mueller said in a blog post Tuesday. "The court-appointed expert will probably be perceived as a highly credible source, but a very persuasive expert hired by one of the parties can still influence the jury's thinking."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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