Jury selection begins for Oracle’s Google suit over Android

By Dan Levine, Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO — Jury selection in a high-stakes dispute over smartphone technology between Oracle Corp. and Google Inc. is set to begin here on Monday morning, kicking off a trial in which both companies’ chief executives are set to take the stand.

Oracle sued Google in August 2010 over seven patents and copyright claims for the Java programming language, which Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems. According to Oracle, Google’s Android operating system tramples on its intellectual property rights to Java. Google says it doesn’t violate Oracle’s patents, and that Oracle cannot copyright certain parts of Java.

Early on, damages estimates ran as high as US$6.1 billion. But Google has narrowed Oracle’s claims so that only two patents remain, reducing the possible damages that could be awarded. Oracle is seeking roughly US$1 billion in copyright damages. The trial before U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco is expected to last eight weeks. Alsup had told both companies last month that if they intended to settle the case, they should do it by April 13 at noon, in order to save potential jurors a trip to the courthouse. That deadline passed on Friday without any announcements.

Both Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page are listed on Oracle’s list of potential witnesses. Oracle said in a court filing on Sunday that it anticipated Ellison and Page would be among its first witnesses.

Ellison is no stranger to the courtroom, having testified in a 2010 trial involving copyright claims that Oracle brought against SAP.