The battle between Oracle and Google over Android is unlikely to go to trial later this month as initially planned.

Another large criminal case in the same court is scheduled for Oct. 17, meaning the Oct. 31 trial date for the Oracle suit against Google will probably have to be postponed, Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the case, wrote in an order on Wednesday.

He didn't set a new date, however. "In hopes that the October 31 trial ... can still go forward, even though that now seems unlikely, the October 31 trial date will not yet be vacated," he wrote.

The trial could be postponed for quite some time for other reasons if Google gets its way. On Tuesday, Google argued that the case should be stayed while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office re-examines the patents in question. Google also accuses Oracle of failing to adequately narrow its claims such that the case is likely to take seven weeks or more at trial, although only three weeks have been allocated.

Oracle, however, on Tuesday urged the judge not to stay the case because the companies have already made considerable investments in the case and because they might have to wait for years for the patent office to come to a final decision.

The companies are fighting over the virtual machine that allows Android to run Java applications. Oracle has accused Google of infringing patents and copyright it acquired along with Sun Microsystems.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is [email protected]