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Google pushes to drop damages phase of Java infringement trial

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This morning in the Oracle vs. Google case, Google told the court it would be filing a motion to drop the damages phase of the trial, a move that Judge William Alsup seemed willing to consider.

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Google will be filing a motion for the damages phase of its infringement battle with Oracle to be dropped altogether as Judge William Alsup pushes both sides to "streamline" the rest of the process. In a hearing this morning, the judge addressed the rangeCheck infringement — the only count Google currently faces — saying that it wouldn't be a good use of the jury's time to have them deliberate on the amount of statutory damages when the maximum figure Oracle can be awarded is just $150,000.

Oracle wanted time to consider, but Google was happy to agree. In fact, counsel Robert Van Nest went one step further, telling the court that his team would be filing a motion today requesting that damages for Google's patent infringement — if any infringement is found — go to the judge as well. There are a range of dollar amounts in play, but Van Nest stated that all three experts expected to appear in the trial have estimated the potential damages associated with the '520 patent at under $100,000, with infringement of the claims in the '104 patent possibly resulting in damages of up of $4 million.

Dropping the damages phase of the trial would leave one issue on the table: Oracle could receive up to three times the damages if the jury finds any infringement was done willfully. Judge Alsup said he would be okay with moving any evidence and arguments regarding Google's willfulness into the current phase of the trial, allowing all twelve jurors to be dismissed once the patent phase is complete. He himself would then decide on the increase in damages. But once again, we're still in the thick of the patent phase, and will have to wait for Google to finish its defense case before the jurors can begin deliberations. Hopefully their decision will come quicker — and be more definitive — than the one in the copyright phase.

Matt Macari contributed to this report.