When the jury in Oracle v. Google delivers its verdict on the first phase of the trial, there won't be much time for anyone to recharge their batteries.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup on Tuesday told the trial teams to gear up for the patent infringement phase of the case, which could take several weeks, since the jury could come back any time with its findings on copyright infringement. "So, get ready," Alsup told the teams, who had gathered to deal with a couple of questions from the jury.
Robert Van Nest, Google's lead attorney, said he'd like the jurors to have a break after rendering a copyright verdict. Certainly a reasonable idea considering they sat attentively through 10 days of evidence, a day of closing arguments and are now in deliberations.
Alsup said if the jury reaches a verdict close to the end of the day, everyone can go home until the next morning. But if the verdict comes in in the morning hours, it'll be time to roll.
While trials are always an endurance test, having one in Alsup's San Francisco court is especially grueling. He starts court at 7:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, and the lawyers are often before him until around 2 p.m., with no lunch break.
And there's no making it to happy hour just because he dismisses early: In this case, the lawyers have been filing motions well into the wee hours.
Alsup himself is in chambers every day before 5:30 a.m., filing orders and prepping for the day. It's not as if he's oblivious to the pressures the teams are under -- he was a trial lawyer at Morrison & Foerster before taking the bench.
"Getting plenty of sleep?" he asked counsel -- to laughter -- at 7:28 a.m. one day early on in the smartphone technology battle.
"As long as I stay on New York time," responded Michael Jacobs, the MoFo partner leading up Oracle's case. (His co-lead counsel, David Boies, who lives in New York, presumably has the advantage of already being set to East Coast time, but he's been spotted yawning in the hallways on Alsup's short breaks.) "I know trial is brute work," Alsup said. "I don't think the press understands how hard it is to try a case if you're the lawyer. You probably get about three hours of sleep a night, maybe not even that much. So I may not seem like it, but as an old trial lawyer myself, I'm sympathetic."
The jury comes back Wednesday at 8 a.m. for more deliberations. Trial is expected to last another six weeks or so.