The Oracle v Google trial has been set to start on April 16th. It took Google less than a day to ask for a postponement and an even shorter time for the judge to respond discouraging this delay.
The reason for Google's request for a continuance, ideally by a few months or at least until April 30, was that its lead counsel, Robert Van Nest, is involved in other trials. Judge Alsup's response threatened the parties with a go-ahead as planned or wait until next-year scenario but also suggested that a fellow judge in the Northern District of California would be able to reduce part of the congestion and Mr van Nest's trial in Texas has been brought forward which also lessens it.
As noted previously on I Programmer, it is Oracle which is keen to have the trial as soon as possible and to expedite matters it has reduced to two the number of patents involved and the case now appears to be more about copyright than patents.
At the same time as setting the date of April 16th, Judge Alsup threw out some of the basis of Oracle's third damages report. A court-appointed damages expert will present his views to the jury alongside the views of the Oracle and Google experts.
Damages are not what this case is primarily going to be about. At this stage I don't think Oracle will win multi-billion dollar damages. But Oracle already made it clear months ago, and pointed out again and again over time, that its priority is to win an injunction against Android in order to "bring Android back into the Java fold".
If Oracle wins an injunction based on copyrighted API-related material, it's possible that Google will indeed have to accede to Oracle's demand to adhere to the official Java standard (or that Google will have to pay a much higher price in order for Oracle to condone continued fragmentation of Java).
Muller concludes the post by saying:
Since Oracle's case has been narrowed considerably during the course of this litigation, a pre-trial settlement is now much more likely than it would have been last fall.
If the case goes to trial it is expected to last eight weeks. So by mid-June Android developers should finally discover whether this spat was a storm in a teacup or a brewing storm of hurricane proportions.