Oracle's patent infringement suit against Google is set to go to trial officially this spring. U.S. Federal Judge William Alsup has issued an order that trial proceedings will begin on Monday, March 19 or later.
As a reminder, Oracle is suing Google regarding patented Java technology that appears on the Android mobile operating system.
Google’s lawyers have repeatedly responded by discussing Google’s relationship with Sun Microsystems, Java's creator now owned by Oracle. Google argued that Sun was a big fan of Android from the start, seeing it as a tool to “spread news and word about Java.”
Basically, Google is saying if it wasn’t a problem with the creator at the time, then there isn’t a case for patent infringement.
Nevertheless, Alsup has acknowledged that the argument is an unstable one, and it is extremely likely that Google will have to hand over some money to Oracle. The exact amount is what remains to be determined at the trial.
Although this case has been tossed around between lawyers and in front of judges for months now, the road to an eventual trial start date for the Oracle v. Google case has had many twists and turns since last summer.
For starters, Oracle hoped to get a trial started as soon as possible last July when the two companies met at the United States Courthouse in San Francisco -- only to be scolded by Judge Alsup for not properly specifying which exact patents that Google was allegedly violating.
The following day, it looked as though a trial would be imminent as Alsup assigned a trial start date on Halloween. Obviously, that hasn't panned out -- although it did become evident that a trial was inevitable as even dragging CEOs Larry Page and Larry Ellison couldn't bring about a settlement.
Then just before October 31, Google petitioned Alsup regarding a series of questions that it believed still needed answering, and Alsup responded by delaying the trial to after the end of 2011.
The curious part about the pretrial order is that it stipulates the trial will start "a date on or after March 19." The keyword there is "after," so really, it might be just safer to pencil in March 19 if you're really curious how the first day of this trial will begin.