Oracle-Google trial won't start until next year

The case over alleged Java violations in Android will be heard in three stages, Judge William Alsup said in an order Wednesday

The intellectual property lawsuit between Oracle and Google over the Android mobile OS won't go to trial until next year, according to a ruling made Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by the judge overseeing the case.

Oracle sued Google last year, claiming that Android violated a number of copyrights and patents it holds on the Java programming language. Google has denied wrongdoing.

The trial was initially set to begin Oct. 31 but was postponed last week by Judge William Alsup due to scheduling conflicts with a major criminal trial.

Alsup's order on Wednesday didn't specify exactly when the trial would begin next year, but stated it would be split into three stages heard by the same jury. In step one, "liability on the copyright claims, including all defenses thereto, will be tried and determined by special verdict before going to Phase Two," he wrote.

The second phase will cover liability on the case's patent claims, he added. "The jury will decide these issues before going to Phase Three."

In the final stage, "all remaining issues will be tried, including damages and willfulness," he wrote.

Time limits will be imposed on the presentation of evidence, but time not used can be brought forward to a later stage, according to Alsup.

Oracle and Google have until Nov. 18 to lodge any objections or critiques of the trial plan, he added.

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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