Google Copyright Infringement Trial Begins

Monday, 16 Apr 2012 11:41 AM

 

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Oracle and Google are set to face each other in court in San Francisco on Monday.

The legal dispute hinges on Oracle's allegations that Google's widely used Android software for mobile devices infringes on copyrights and patents that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems Inc. for $7.3 billion in 2010. The technology in question is Java, a programming language that has been around since the 1990s.

Oracle Corp., a business software maker with $36 billion in annual revenue, is seeking hundreds of millions in damages.

Google Inc., which relies on its dominance of Internet search and advertising for most of its $38 billion in annual revenue, believes it won't have to pay more than a few million dollars.

The jury trial before U.S. District Judge William Alsup has been separated into three different phases covering copyright claims, patent claims, and damages. The final phase won't be necessary if Google prevails in its defense against the allegations of copyright and patent infringement.

Each phase is supposed to last two weeks, although Alsup has allotted eight weeks for the entire trial in case there are unexpected delays or other twists.

The first phase covering copyrights is likely to be the most important. Oracle is seeking several hundred million dollars in damages for the alleged copyright infringement on some of Java's programming features.

Google CEO Larry Page and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, a pair of multibillionaires whose innovations have reshaped the world, are each expected to testify during the opening phase.

Jury selection begins Monday. Alsup has told the parties that opening statements and possibly the first witness could come Monday as well.


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