Google and Oracle each submitted proposals on Friday to reduce the number of claims in their Java patent infringement lawsuit, which could help bring the case to a speedier conclusion.
The judge in the case, William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, has said he hopes to have the case wrapped up before the end of November. This week, Alsup ordered the two sides to submit proposals for reducing the number of claims in the complex case to a "triable number."
Oracle proposed reducing the number of claims it is asserting to 75 from the current 132 by June 30, then to 35 claims by Sept. 2. By Oct. 17 and the final pretrial conference, Oracle would identify "a triable number" of claims, it said. The trial is currently set for Oct. 31.
Meanwhile, Oracle wants Google to lower its "asserted prior art references or combinations of references to four per patent" by July 8, and reduce the number of asserted grounds of invalidity per patent to three by Sept. 2. Google would then determine a "triable number of invalidity grounds" by Oct. 17.
Google's filing proposes a more aggressive culling of Oracle's claims. In the first phase, Google wants Oracle to "elect a reduced set of claims, on the order of 40 claims or as specified by the Court." A second phase would see Oracle choose a subset of 20 claims by July 29. In a third phase, Oracle "would make a final election of a small triable number of claims, e.g., two claims or such other number as the Court may require."
In turn, Google would substantially reduce its number of prior art claims as the phases proceed, according to its filing.
The filings also touched on the ongoing reexamination of Oracle's patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which was initiated by Google.
Oracle argued that the case should not be stayed, or delayed, pending the outcome of the reexaminations. "The pending reexaminations will provide little if any benefit to the Court or the parties. Oracle does not see a way to depend on them without dramatic disruption to the schedule set by the Court. The circumstances here do not warrant a stay," Oracle's filing states.
The reexaminations likely would not be complete until late 2013, well after the scheduled end of the trial, Oracle said. "It does not make sense for the Court to surrender management of its docket to the Patent Office."
But Google expects the PTO to issue a number of relevant responses within the next several months, according to its filing.
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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