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Oracle Seeks New Trial In On-Going Legal Dispute With SAP

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Oracle rejects a settlement offer and wants a new trial to “vindicate” the original jury and the company’s intellectual property rights

Oracle is ready to return to court rather than accept a reduced settlement from bitter rival SAP. The American database company has decided to extend the long-running legal battle after a judge said it should receive no more than $272 million (£171m).

In an Oakland, California, court filing, Oracle said that a new trial was the only way to “vindicate the verdict of the jury and Oracle’s intellectual property rights as a copyright owner”.

Carrying on the fight

SAP responded with a statement declaring that it was “disappointed that Oracle has passed up yet another opportunity to resolve this case. We will continue to work to bring this case to a fair and reasonable end”.

The dispute resulted from unauthorised access to Oracle’s computer systems by TomorrowNow, a now-defunct service provider acquired by SAP in 2005. SAP admitted that TomorrowNow had copied large amounts of code and admitted corporate responsibility in an apology issued in November 2010.

A court ordered SAP to pay Oracle $1.3 billion (£820m) in damages in the largest US copyright infringement award on record and was even told to pay interest on the fine a month later.

SAP reported strong results and forecasts for 2011 despite the legal action, and the fine was thrown about by a judge in September upon appeal. The fine was reduced substantially as Judge Phyllis Hamilton felt that the initial award was far too high.

However, Oracle’s announcement that it intends to continue its legal fight, means that there is no end in sight to the two companies’ dispute.