SAP accepts liability in Oracle lawsuit

It says it is willing to pay tens of millions of dollars in damages, but not the billions Oracle is seeking

SAP said it would accept liability for some claims made by Oracle in a suit that alleges theft of trade secrets, but SAP will continue to fight what it called Oracle's "vastly exaggerated" claim for billions of dollars in damages.

The development comes about three months before the two sides are due to go to trial, in a case Oracle filed more than three years ago over the alleged conduct of SAP's TomorrowNow subsidiary.

TomorrowNow provided maintenance services for customers of Oracle's PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards software, and Oracle accused the company of downloading software patches and other materials illegally from its customer support website.

SAP acknowledged almost from the start that TomorrowNow made "mistakes" and has since shut down the division, which it acquired in 2005. On Thursday, SAP said it would accept liability for Oracle's claims of copyright infringement and illegal downloading, if Oracle in turn agreed to dismiss other claims.

But SAP will continue to argue that Oracle's damages claims are unreasonable. Oracle is seeking "billions in damages," while "their true damages measure in the tens of millions at most," SAP said in its pretrial brief filed Thursday.

"SAP recognizes not only that TomorrowNow made mistakes but that plaintiffs are entitled to compensation, for which SAP will accept ultimate financial responsibility. That compensation must be based in reality and the law, however," the company's lawyers wrote.

SAP also wants the trial shortened to two weeks, from the six weeks currently scheduled.

An Oracle spokeswoman said the company declined to comment on SAP's filing.

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