Google and Oracle's patent infringement case is heating up considerably as it gets closer to the scheduled Halloween trial date over.
Not only is the trial commencement time possibly up in the air, but a settlement between the two Silicon Valley giants could actually happen.
Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a brief order on Friday afternoon revealing that he might order the "top executive officers" of both companies to come to court for a day or two.
That means we could potentially see Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page get involved with some real courtroom drama action.
But before we get too excited, the judge's memo does leave the door open to other possibilities as well at this point.
Oracle v. Google: Order Regarding Mediation
There's still a possibility that the parties' lawyers can convince Judge Alsup that one or two full days to be spent in court by top-level executives of both companies would be overly burdensome and unlikely to yield the desired result. They'll probably be quite creative now in arguing against such a compulsory high-level settlement negotiation, but neither party will want to appear too uncooperative. I would also expect them to argue that there's uncertainty about the trial date, but I guess Judge Alsup wouldn't be impressed by that argument since he wants the parties to make all preparations for a Halloween trial regardless of a possible postponement.
Whomever gets picked to go has to be specified to the court by Wednesday. But if neither company wants to send top level executives to court, they might be more inclined to finally try to make a settlement happen--at least once the trial start date is pinned down without any doubts about it. Neither party seems prepared for and/or wants a full trial, which was evident at a preliminary hearing back in July.
This story was origially posted at ZDNet's Between the Lines.