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Google's Schmidt to testify in Oracle trial

Reuters  San Francisco, April 24, 2012
First Published: 17:34 IST(24/4/2012) | Last Updated: 17:36 IST(24/4/2012)

Google's former chief executive, Eric Schmidt, is slated to testify on Tuesday as Oracle's final witness in the first part of a high stakes trial over smartphone technology, attorneys said in court.

Oracle sued Google in August 2010, saying Google's Android mobile operating system infringes its copyrights and patents for the Java programming language. Google countered that it does not violate Oracle's patents and that Oracle cannot copyright certain parts of Java, an "open-source," or publicly available, software language.

The trial, expected to last at least eight weeks, has been divided into three phases: copyright liability, patent claims, and damages. The first phase over copyright began last week, with both Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page taking the stand.

In court on Monday, attorneys for both Oracle and Google confirmed that Schmidt would appear on Tuesday, after Google's Android chief, Andy Rubin, completes his testimony.

Schmidt was Google's CEO for 10 years before assuming the role of executive chairman last year. He previously worked as chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems, which developed Java. Oracle acquired Sun for $7.4 billion in 2010.

Schmidt is expected to testify about negotiations with both Sun and Oracle over Java, along with his awareness of Sun's Java licensing practices due to his tenure there, according to a witness list filed in court.

Early in the case, estimates of potential damages against Google ran as high as $6.1 billion. But Google successfully narrowed Oracle's patent claims and reduced the possible award. Oracle is seeking roughly $1 billion in copyright damages.

After Schmidt, Oracle is expected to rest its copyright presentation, and Google will then have an opportunity to present witnesses. The jury will deliberate solely on copyright liability before moving on to hear evidence about patent infringement.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup may also decide some of the copyright issues. However, Alsup has not yet formally ruled on which questions will ultimately be sent to the jury and which ones he will decide.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Oracle America, Inc v. Google Inc, 10-3561.


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