Google, Oracle to hold last-minute settlement talks

A magistrate judge has ordered top executives from both sides to meet for talks ahead of their April 16 trial date

Oracle and Google will hold another round of settlement talks as the trial date nears in their high-stakes court battle over Google's alleged misuse of Java in Android.

A magistrate judge assigned to the case has ordered senior executives from both sides to be present at the talks. The participants must include "at least" Oracle President Safra Catz and Andy Rubin, the head of Google's Android division, according to an order issued Friday.

The talks must take place no later than April 9, the magistrate judge wrote. An eight-week jury trial is scheduled to begin on April 16.

Both parties may feel they have some incentive to settle. Oracle has struggled to show the court how it arrived at its damages estimate, and the amount it now seeks at trial appears significantly lower than it had originally hoped for. And Google has tried and failed repeatedly to have a potentially damaging email written by one of its engineers excluded from the case.

Still, it's not clear what prompted the judge to order the new round of talks at this time. The parties have met several times before, including in a face-to-face meeting between Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page, and failed to find common ground.

However, the likelihood of a settlement often increases as a trial date draws closer.

Oracle accuses Google of using Oracle's Java technology in Android in a way that violates its patents and copyrights. Google denies any wrongdoing.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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James Niccolai

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