Short of witchcraft, there may be nothing Judge William Alsup won't do to try to stop Oracle and Google's legal armies from taking over his courtroom as scheduled next month for their Java patent showdown.
Today, the San Francisco federal judge ordered the two companies' billionaire CEOs to show up at a mediation session.
Late last month, he took the rare step of appointing his own damages expert. In a separate order today, Alsup explains just how that's going to work. Some interesting features: The economics expert, James Kearl, can attend the depositions of the parties' damages experts, and the lawyer that Alsup has appointed for him -- Farella, Braun & Martel's John Cooper -- can ask them questions. (Cooper is acting pro bono, though it isn't clear why a financial dispute between two of the world's richest companies should require such service).
Alsup also told the parties to come up with a way that Kearl can talk "off the record" to each sides' experts in the interest of "full disclosure and understanding by Dr. Kearl of all issues relating to damages in this action."
Alsup has made it clear he is skeptical of both sides' damages methodology -- and made it even clearer he wants this thing settled.