It's been over a year since we first reported that Oracle was looking into a suit against Google for its perceived infringement of their Java code, and we've finally come to a point where it appears that both parties are willing to reach, maybe, perhaps, a settlement. This settlement may well come in this newest announced move for a mediation meeting between representatives from Google and representatives from Oracle, this newest move sparking talk about how serious Google is taking the case and questions over whether or not they're prepared to defend themselves in a case that could, ultimately, believe it or not, end up in the destruction of Android as we know it today.
One of the most interesting very possibly related events to surround this whole situation is the announcement last week that Java creator James Gosling would be leaving Google after only 6 months on the job. His tenure with the group starting and ending at the start and possible end of this, at first glance, unrelated court case. After that, is all obvious factoids.
A big drop of information came earlier this year when a mister Florian Mueller found code which he saw as evidence against Google in the very case we're speaking about now. Later the same month we found this evidence to be bunk for the most part - to which Mueller came back and said that he'd found six more files to be considered in the case. We saw Oracle supposedly deleting a blog post showing their CEO's approval of Java in Android, then a few more stories popped up about a seemingly unrelated few talks between Google and Microsoft on patents - war, war I tell you!
BONUS from our sister-site SlashGear: in July of 2011 the still relatively new Google CEO Larry Page was the subject of a 2 hour grilling on the case.
Today we've gotten word that both parties have agreed to walk toward one another without weapons of any kind, no knives, no clubs, no sharp sticks, and settle this thing like good god-fearing Americans - or whatever well-mannered law-abiding citizens are called these days. Both groups have released statements:
Google welcomes the Court's suggestion that the parties participate in a mediation of this case before a Magistrate Judge. Google does not object to participating in a mediation before a Magistrate Judge who is not otherwise involved in this case.
Google recognizes the importance of having top executives of the parties attend the Court-ordered mediation. Google proposes that Andrew Rubin, who is Senior Vice President, Mobile and reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer, attend for Google together with Kent Walker, Vice President and General Counsel of Google. Mr. Rubin's executive responsibilities include all of Google’s mobile business, of which the Android business is a part. Mr. Rubin is knowledgeable regarding the issues in this case and he is fully empowered to resolve this matter on reasonable terms.
Google also understands from counsel for Oracle that they propose that Safra Catz and Thomas Kurian attend on behalf of Oracle -- and Google agrees with this choice. Ms. Catz is one of two Presidents of Oracle who, like Mr. Rubin, reports directly to Oracle's Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Rubin and Ms. Catz were involved in previous discussions involving the subject matter at issue in this case.
Oracle concurs with the Court’s view that an additional attempt at settlement of the case through mediation before a United State Magistrate Judge is warranted. Oracle has found previous efforts at settlement, including private discussions between the parties, frustrating for lack of follow-through, and believes that those efforts have not exhausted the possibilities for resolving the case.
As suggested by the Court, Oracle considers it essential that both parties bring top-level executives. Accordingly, Oracle’s executive representatives in the mediation before the Magistrate Judge will be Safra Catz, President of Oracle Corporation, and Thomas Kurian, Executive Vice President of Oracle Product Development.
Oracle will strive to make its representatives available as necessary and proposes that the mediation occur before the end of September.
It is Judge William Alsup who presides over this case and who has suggested such a mediation before the case heads to jury. Oracle's Safra Catz, is generally considered by a whiz when it comes to this sort of talk, while Florian Mueller, who just seems to keep popping up in this epic story somehow, says:
The choice of Andy Rubin and Google's General Counsel Kent Walker is very questionable. While Google can't be penalized for the fact that it doesn't give anyone the title of "President", those two executives are clearly not at a level with Safra Catz.
Without a doubt we've still got a little while before this case is settled for real, but because the stakes are so high, we've just GOT to keep you updated on the proceedings and all the little jabs and cuts. What do you think will end up happening? Will Oracle win? Or will Google emerge victorious with a stomach full of Oracle airplane?