It's on: Ellison versus Page. The top executives of Oracle and Google have been ordered to get in a room together and try to resolve their multi-billion-dollar Java patent clash like grown-ups, face to face.
The Larrys must show up on September 19 at 9am Pacific time, a US magistrate has said in a written court order. The Oracle and Google chief executives must also be prepared for further appearances between September 20 and 30, the magistrate has ordered here and picked up here.
Lawyers for Google and Oracle must appear on September 14.
Mediation was ordered last week by the judge hearing Oracle's $2.6bn prosecution of Google over claimed violations of patents in Java, which Oracle acquired with Sun Microsystems. Trial is now looming in the year-old case.
US judge William Alsup had said he was considering whether the "top executive officers" for both sides should be in attendance for at least two full days of talks. He asked the companies to draw up a list of attendees.
Ellison is no stranger to industry-court actions, having taken the stand in California during his company's red-blooded prosecution of SAP over defunct subsidiary TomorrowNow. Ellison, though, appeared a little reluctant to enter the ring on this particular occasion, however, and Oracle proffered one of his top lieutenants instead – the extremely capable president and chief financial officer Safra Catz.
Geeky Page is a court virgin, though, and Google sought to shield its man by offering up the executive in charge of the allegedly offending Android operating system Andy Rubin.
Now the US magistrate has banged both companies' heads together pointing out they clearly didn't get the hint first time around when Alsup said "top" executive officers. It's CEO time.
Oracle launched its suit against Google in August 2010 claiming 132 claims of violations involving Java on mobile by Android. Google's mobile operating system uses a subset of an implementation of Java Standard Edition from the Apache Software Foundation called Harmony, while Oracle would rather mobile on Java is based on the official Java Mobile Edition (Java ME) flavor.
Google is reported to have argued it's clear of any blame on Android, as code for its operating system came from outside the US. Quoting a Microsoft versus. AT&T Supreme-Court ruling, Google attorney Robert Van Nest said: "It is not patent infringement when allegedly infringing software supplied from the United States to device makers in foreign countries must be copied by those manufacturers before it can be loaded onto the devices." ®