Call it the Two-Larry Summit.
A federal judge has summoned Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison and Google (GOOG) CEO Larry Page into court for a last-ditch, high-level mediation session aimed at settling a patent dispute that could represent billions of dollars to the two giant tech companies.
Oracle is suing Google in a closely watched case involving Google's Android software, which has become one of the world's most popular operating systems for smartphones and other portable devices. Oracle says Android's developers infringed patents and copyrights that Oracle holds for the Java software development system, which Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems last year. Google has disputed the claim.
The case is scheduled for trial Oct. 31, although a federal judge presiding over the case has repeatedly pushed the two sides to discuss a possible settlement. U.S. District Judge William Alsup previously rejected an Oracle expert's estimate that damages in the case could reach $6 billion, but the judge also said the case could be worth "millions, maybe in the billions" if Oracle proves its claims.
While both sides are still engaged in pretrial sparring, Alsup decided to order the two tech giants to submit to a final mediation effort, under the supervision of Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal. Alsup said he wanted both companies to send high-ranking executives with enough authority to negotiate an agreement.
Oracle proposed sending President Safra Catz and Executive Vice President Thomas Kurian, while Google nominated Senior Vice President Andrew Rubin and General Counsel Kent Walker. But after Oracle objected that Rubin didn't rank high enough, Grewal decided Page and Ellison must appear at the settlement conference scheduled for Sept. 19. Google and Oracle representatives both declined to comment Friday.
Contact Brandon Bailey at 408-920-5022; follow him at Twitter.com/BrandonBailey.