Judge William Alsup has come up with his decision about what constitutes a triable number of claims in the Oracle's patent litigation against Google - and his limit is three!
Having asked for the two sides in the Oracle versus Google lawsuit to submit proposals to reduce the number of claims to a "triable number" (see Further moves in Oracle versus Google lawsuit), the judge handling the case decided not to accept either side's numbers but instead has issued an order that the number of claims from Oracle be reduced from the current 132 to just three and that the number of prior art references Google uses to demonstrate the invalidity of the claims be reduced from "hundreds" to eight.
Moreover the order states:
Oracle will surrender all of its present infringement claims against Google based on the 129 asserted claims that will not be tried. Oracle may not renew those infringement claims in a subsequent action except as to new products.
His order dated May 3 gives a three-step timetable:
prior art refs
|By end May
|By end August
judgement (Oct 13)
The two parties are able to file a critique of the schedule but again the judge has set limits - 5-pages, double spaced, twelve-point Times New Roman font, no footnotes, and no attachments.
Although the trial "remains set to begin on October 31", the Judge does have a question about timing, responding to the information disclosed to him during last week's claim construction hearing that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has agreed to Goggle's request for a re-examination of Oracle's Java patents. At the end of the order he asks the question:
If our trial were postponed until after the inter partes reexaminations, to what extent would the results there possibly moot out the need for a trial here?
and requests that both parties comment.
While it is too soon for Android developers to conclude the threat has passed, this order has to suggest cautious optimism. As Groklaw comments:
I've been trying to tell you that wild predictions of Android's doom from this case were, as Mark Twain put it, premature. Was I right or was I right?
Oracle sues Google for Android Java use
Google v Oracle - progress at last?