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Oracle, Google lawyers outline potential trial roadmap

At the judge's request, attorneys hammered out a brief that outlines where the ongoing Oracle v. Google trial could go from here on matters concerning copyright infringement.

SAN FRANCISCO -- At the request of Judge William Alsup, Oracle and Google attorneys hammered out a brief that outlines where the trial could go from here on matters concerning copyright infringement.

Both legal teams arrived to the U.S. District Court of Northern California her early this morning, discussing (and sometimes arguing in heated whispers) about the nuts and bolts of the stipulation, which can be read below.

Reading more like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" game, there are several possibilities as to where the case could go from here, including up and down the appeals chain with new juries and all. Here are some of the major highlights:

  • With respect to copyright issues only (NOT patents), there will be no further work by the current 11-person jury.
  • On copyrights, there won't be any further work until after appeals or if a new trial is granted by the court.
  • Google wants to tie the infringement and fair use matters (questions 1A and 1B from the jury's copyright verdict form) to be tried together in a new trial. Oracle opposes that.
  • Oracle is free to try to make a case for infringer's profits but with some limitations.
  • If Oracle does go after infringer's profits, neither party can use any reports or expert witnesses we haven't seen already in front of the current jury.
  • If nothing from Oracle's structure, sequence, and organization (SSO) claim is submitted to a new, future jury, then both parties waive their right to a jury trial over damages related to the nine lines of code in "rangeCheck" and the decompiled test files.

Again, all of this also depends on whether or not the judge rules if the 37 Java APIs are copyrightable in the first place. Alsup said earlier this week that he probably won't have news on that until next week.

If the judge decides that the SSO of the APIs are not copyrightable, then he could award the statutory damages to Oracle on at least the rangeCheck code and the test files. From there, the trial would move up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

On the flip side, if Alsup decides that the APIs are copyrightable, then we could end up with a new trial and a new jury on just the issue of copyright infringement.

Signing the stipulation in approval, Alsup concluded with a smile, "Thanks, counsel, for being so brilliant and solving at least one piece of this problem."

Again, all of this only pertains to the copyright segment of the case. The jury is currently deliberating over patent infringement claims. If the jury finds for Oracle on those, then we will proceed to third phase automatically with the same jury.

However, if they find for Google and that there is no patent infringement, then the members of the jury would be dismissed and their work in this case would be done.

Oracle v. Google: Stipulation Regarding Copyright Damages

This story was first published as "Oracle, Google hammer out potential trial roadmap" at ZDNet's Between the Lines.