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Ellison, Page have to attend lawsuit settlement talks

Judge says CEOs of Oracle and Google must show up at a September 19 meeting to try to settle the ongoing patent infringement suit between the companies.

Oracle's Larry Ellison and Google's Larry Page are expected to face each other on September 19 in an attempt to settle the year-long patent infringement case between their respective companies.

After trying to skirt any appearances by promising to send other people to the conference table, the two CEOs were ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal last Friday to attend the settlement talks themselves.

"The party representatives required to attend this and any further conferences include, but are not limited to, Larry Ellison of Oracle and Larry Page of Google," according to a copy of the court order posted by The Register.

Beyond the September 19 appearance, the two chief executives may also need to show up for further discussions on September 20 and September 30.

The two companies have been embroiled in a legal battle since Oracle launched a suit against Google in August 2010, arguing that the search giant has been violating its many patents for Java.

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Since then, the two have been arguing back and forth over whether Android does infringe on Java, and if so, how much money in damages Google would potentially have to shell out to Oracle.

As the case has dragged on with no resolution in sight, the companies recently agreed to court-ordered mediation in hopes of settling the suit. After the court asked them to compile a list of possible attendees, both companies proposed that executives other than their CEOs attend the settlement talks. But the judge instead decided to go right to the top.

Ellison is no novice to courtroom appearances, noted the Register, having testified last year in a lawsuit against SAP over Oracle's former TomorrowNow subsidiary. But Page is less familiar with the legal scene, with The Register dubbing him a "court virgin."

If the two companies can't patch up their differences through mediation, they'll have to head to court for trial starting October 31.

Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while a Google spokesman said the company had no comment.

Updated 9:40 a.m. PT with response from Google.