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Oracle Can Try Again to Suggest Google Damages

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Oracle on Tuesday agreed to submit a third damages estimate for a trial that will determine whether the operating system for Google's Android infringes on its rights to Java, a federal judge ruled.

The company has twice submitted damages reports authored by economics professor Iain Cockburn, but U.S. District Judge William Alsup said the reports "advanced improper methodologies obviously calculated to reach stratospheric numbers."

After Cockburn first estimated that Google could owe Oracle up to $6 billion in damages, Alsup tossed most of that report and Cockburn's reply report. The parties recently submitted briefs detailing whether Cockburn should be allowed to submit a third report.

In the third report, Cockburn must revise only items stricken from the second report and address two studies that did not serve as the basis for his prior reports.

Oracle is also responsible for reimbursing all fees incurred by the damages expert that the court appointed to assess Cockburn's revisions, according to Alsup's Friday decision.

The company has already had "two full and fair opportunities and has overreached on both," Alsup wrote. "Oracle has behaved unreasonably and should bear the burden of the consequences."

Oracle has until Feb. 3 to serve the new report, at which time Google has one week to depose Cockburn for seven hours. Google then has another seven days to serve a revised damages report, with changes that respond directly only to new material submitted by Cockburn.

Oracle cannot depose Google's experts or submit a reply report, and it cannot call Cockburn as a rebuttal witness at trial, the judge added.

Pending pretrial matters could delay the start of jury trial on this case to mid-April or late 2012, Alsup said.

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