Setback for SAP in Oracle suit

Oracle will be able to pursue damages based on 'hypothetical' software licenses

Oracle has won a battle regarding the way damages can be calculated in its intellectual property lawsuit against SAP, according to a rulingfiled Jan. 28 in US District Court for the Northern District of California.

In March 2007, Oracle sued SAP and its one-time subsidiary, TomorrowNow, which provided lower-cost support for Oracle applications, claiming TomorrowNow workers had illegally downloaded software from its support systems. SAP has said the employees were authorized to download the materials on behalf of TomorrowNow customers, but also acknowledged some "inappropriate downloads" had occurred.

The case is currently scheduled to go to trial in November. Oracle has said its damages could top US$1 billion, a figure partly based on "hypothetical" license fees it would have gained for use of its software.

But in a motion filed last year, SAP argued that Oracle would not be entitled to damages on this basis because the company "never would have been willing to negotiate with its arch-rival ... for the type of copyright license that Oracle has put at issue here," the Jan. 28 ruling by Judge Phyllis Hamilton states.

"Moreover, SAP asserts, even had Oracle been willing to negotiate such a license, testimony from executives on both sides makes it clear that neither side could have agreed on the basis for negotiations or on the price, as they had vastly different views as to the basis of the negotiation, and thus, there never would have been a 'meeting of the minds,'" it adds.

But Hamilton was not swayed by SAP's argument.

Oracle will be allowed "to present evidence regarding the fair market value of the copyrights that SAP allegedly infringed," the ruling states. "The question is not what Oracle would have charged for a license, 'but what is the fair market value.'"

In a statement, SAP expressed disappointment but noted that it "did not award any particular damages amount or provide that Oracle is actually entitled to damages."

The company "will continue to work through the Court process to bring this case to an appropriate resolution," the statement adds.

An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment.

The sprawling case underscores the high financial stakes around software support revenue, which provides vendors with steady profits even as license sales slow.

Lodging similar allegations to those made against SAP, Oracle is also suing third-party maintenance provider Rimini Street and its CEO, Seth Ravin , who was a TomorrowNow co-founder.

In an interview last week, Ravin denied wrongdoing and said the company planned to mount a vigorous defense.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags SAPlawsuitOracle

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?