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Experts: Oracle, Google need to focus on people as well as patents

Chris Kanaracus | Jan. 18, 2012
Both Oracle and Google would be well-advised to center their cases around people along with a painstaking discussion of patents once their lawsuit over the Android mobile OS goes to trial, according to experts.

"Inevitably, [jurors] begin to see which expert they regard as trustworthy, and which lawyers they like, and so on," Daniels said. "You really have to personify the technical issues and put some good-guy, bad-guy drama to the whole thing. Otherwise, it's just a mash."

The drama need not only focus on who was allegedly good or bad. Both the plaintiff and alleged infringer also need to "show their invention was difficult to create and took time and effort, and that those risks eventually paid off," he said.

There are typically two kinds of expert witnesses in patent cases, according to Daniels. There's the "college professor" type who brings communication skills well-honed by years of teaching to undergraduate students, and the "hands-on guy, who can deliver a knockout punch for you at the right moment," he said. Oracle vs. Google will probably feature more of the former, Daniels said.

While Google and Oracle attorneys will seek to tell their sides of the story as clearly as possible, they can't get too casual, Daniels said

"[Oracle will] have to be very specific. You do need to say the right things to fit the legal standard for finding infringement," he said. The same goes for Google when it argues Oracle's claims are invalid, he added. "There's that aspect of the presentation that you just can't be folksy about or generalize."

It's not clear when the trial will begin. Last week, Judge William Alsup ruled that no trial date would be set until Oracle submits an acceptable damages methodology. Previously, Alsup had said the trial could begin as soon as March 19.


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