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Oracle-Google trial over Android to begin as soon as March

The long-awaited trial, when it starts, will be kept fairly short

Oracle's lawsuit against Google over alleged Java patent and copyright violations in the Android mobile OS will go to trial as soon as mid-March after well over a year of heated back-and-forth wrangling between the two sides.

The trial will be held "on or after" Mar. 19 in up to three phases, with the same jury hearing all the evidence and rendering decisions, Judge William Alsup wrote in a final pretrial order filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Despite that plan, Alsup appears intent on making the trial much more streamlined than the pre-trial proceedings.

Phase one "will be directed to all liability and defenses for all copyright claims but not for any other issues," he wrote. Each side will be allowed 16 hours to present evidence. After closing arguments from both sides, the jury will issue a verdict on copyright issues, he added.

Phase two is to focus on "all patent liability and defense issues, including any generalized defenses," Alsup wrote. Oracle and Google will each have 12 hours to show evidence. The jury would then render a second verdict on the patent claims, according to the judge.

A third phase, which may not be necessary, will cover "all remaining issues would be tried including damages and willfulness," Alsup said. Each side would get only eight hours to present.

Meanwhile, Oracle and Google have filed a series of motions in hopes of getting various pieces of evidence excluded from the trial. Rulings on those motions will be handled in separate orders, Alsup wrote.

Oracle and Google have up to seven days to file objections to Alsup's final pretrial order.

Oracle first sued Google in August 2010 over the alleged Java infringements in Android. Google has denied wrongdoing.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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