Judge partially dismisses Oracle lawsuit against Solaris support providers

But several other Oracle claims, including for copyright infringement and unfair competition, remain in play

A federal judge has tossed out part of a lawsuit Oracle filed against third-party support providers Terix and Maintech, in what could set a precedent for similar cases.

Terix and Maintech persuaded customers to cancel their support agreements with Oracle by "falsely representing" they could legally provide hardware and Solaris OS service and support for less money, according to Oracle's lawsuit filed last July in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

"While a customer may choose to engage a third party instead of Oracle to provide support services on Oracle hardware, under such circumstances neither the third party nor the customer may access or use Oracle's support website," Oracle said. "In particular, neither the third party nor the customer may use official, Oracle-authored Solaris updates to support the Oracle software running the hardware."

Terix and Maintech told customers they were allowed to receive Solaris Updates even without an active hardware support contract with Oracle because of their licenses to use Solaris in conjunction with a purchase of Oracle hardware, according to Oracle.

The companies "either obtained access credentials to Oracle's secure support website under false pretenses or directed others with access credentials to download Oracle's intellectual property unlawfully," Oracle claimed.

In a ruling earlier this month, Judge Paul Grewal dismissed Oracle's claim that Terix and Maintech engaged in software trafficking.

Terix and Maintech argued they can "not be held liable for merely trafficking by receiving credentials alone," Grewal wrote. "On this score, the court agrees with Defendants. Oracle has not alleged that Defendants transferred or otherwise disposed of its customer's login credentials. Instead, Defendants are alleged only to have received the login credentials from their customer and used the credentials themselves."

The case is far from concluded, however, as Grewal did not dismiss other Oracle claims against Terix and Maintech, including for breach of contract, copyright infringement, unfair competition and false advertising.

An Oracle spokeswoman didn't respond to a request for comment on Grewal's ruling.

Oracle has seen hardware revenue fall consistently since its purchase of Sun Microsystems, but hardware support revenue has been rising.

Vendors such as Oracle derive handsome profits from support and software maintenance revenues and are loath to see that money chipped away by third parties.

Oracle has also sued companies such as Rimini Street, which provides third-party support for Oracle and SAP applications. Rimini Street's CEO is Seth Ravin , a co-founder of former SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow, which offered support for Oracle applications.

Oracle sued SAP in 2007 and ultimately won a sizable judgment, but the case is not yet resolved.

Rimini Street, Terix, Maintech and others have maintained they operate within the legal boundaries of customers' rights.

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

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Terixintellectual propertyit strategyMaintechCIO roleCivil lawsuitslegalsoftwareIT managementOracleRimini Street

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?