Supreme Court rejects SAP appeal of $391 million patent suit award

The long-running dispute between Versata Software and SAP centers on patents for pricing software

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from SAP of a US$391 million judgment given to Versata Software in a patent lawsuit the latter filed, but SAP is vowing to fight onward.

"Today's action by the Court was unfortunate but not unexpected," SAP spokesman Andy Kendzie said via email on Tuesday. "SAP will continue to move forward with this litigation. The patent claims at issue were declared invalid last year by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That issue remains on appeal. We continue to believe we will prevail in this matter."

That ruling, which occurred in June, set a legal landmark as the first one given under the America Invents Act. The legislation gives the U.S. Patent and Trade Office the ability to review the validity of patents covering "business methods," such as the one at issue in the SAP-Versata case.

The Supreme Court didn't give a reason for turning down SAP's appeal, including only a brief mention of it among dozens of others in an order handed down Tuesday.

Versata sells pricing software SAP customers used along with their ERP (enterprise resource planning) implementations. SAP later developed its own pricing software and bundled it with other applications, which cut into Versata's sales. It filed suit against SAP in 2007, claiming SAP's pricing software infringed on patents it holds.

In 2009, Versata won a $139 million verdict against SAP but it was set aside by a judge who ordered a new trial. A jury subsequently awarded Versata $345 million in 2011. With prejudgment interest, the amount at issue grew to $391 million.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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