Friday, March 15, 2013

Next Microsoft-Google FRAND trial scheduled to commence on August 26, 2013

Yesterday (Thursday, March 14) Judge James Robart of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington held a telephone hearing in the Microsoft v. Motorola FRAND contract case before him. In preparation of the conference call the parties had submitted their preferences for the second trialin this case, which will address the breach-of-contract question. Previously Microsoft argued that Google has waived its right to a jury trial and that another bench trial would be more efficient. The first trial in this case was held in November, and a FRAND rate-setting decision will issue shortly.

Following yesterday's conference call Judge Robart directed a court clerk to enter a minute order setting the schedule for the breach-of-contract trial. I've uploaded the original document to Scribd.

The minute order just refers to a "trial" and doesn't state in any way whether this will be a bench or jury trial. The order doesn't even specify the expected duration of the trial, which could have been an indication (the parties felt a bench trial would take 4 days and a jury trial almost twice as long). The question of trial type will presumably be addressed at a later stage.

The trial is set to kick off on August 26, 2013, which is after the period preferred by Microsoft (August 5-20) but before Google's preferred window (September 23-October 25).

For discovery and expert reports the schedule sets deadlines in the form of "[X] days following the court's findings and conclusions for the November 13, 2012, trial", i.e., the FRAND rate-setting order. All of this activity will occur within 75 days of the rate-setting decision. The order also specifies four calendar dates:

Motions in Limine (limited to 3 per side) dueJuly 29, 2013
Responses to Motions in LimineAugust 5, 2013
Pre-trial ConferenceAugust 13, 2013
TrialAugust 26, 2013

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