FBI watching Oracle-SAP trial

SAP has said the FBI and the DOJ are both investigating the circumstances that led to Oracle's lawsuit

An FBI agent has been in the courtroom each day this week watching the Oracle-SAP trial, suggesting U.S. law enforcement continues to take an interest in the case.

SAP said in 2007, when Oracle filed its civil lawsuit against the company, that the Department of Justice had requested documents related to the matter from SAP and its TomorrowNow subsidiary. SAP said at the time that it would "fully cooperate."

In a court filing in August, SAP said there was an "ongoing investigation" by the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into "some facts and circumstances that are involved in this matter."

Oracle originally filed 10 complaints against SAP, including copyright infringement, violation of the federal computer fraud and abuse act, breach of contract and unfair competition. It agreed to pursue only the copyright claim at trial after SAP accepted some liability.

It's not unusual for representatives from the DOJ or the FBI to listen in at civil proceedings to learn more about a case or help them determine if they wish to file criminal charges.

"We have an interest in the case," the FBI agent said in court Thursday. He declined to comment further or provide his name. A spokesman with the FBI office in San Francisco would not confirm or deny it is watching the case.

Kyle Waldinger, an assistant U.S. attorney in San Francisco, was also in court observing the case this week, Bloomberg reported.

SAP spokesman Bill Wohl declined to comment beyond reiterating that his company would cooperate with any requests. A spokeswoman for Oracle declined to comment.

SAP has admitted that its now-closed TomorrowNow subsidiary stole support materials from an Oracle website, and the trial is to determine how much damages SAP should pay.

Charles Phillips, a former Oracle president, testified for Oracle in the case this week, and Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison is due to take the stand Monday. SAP will begin to present its defense in about 10 days, and the trial is expected to wrap up before the end of the month.

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Tags applicationsintellectual propertycopyrightSAPCivil lawsuitslegalsoftwareOracleCriminal

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James Niccolai

IDG News Service
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