Oracle And SAP Settle Bitter Software Piracy Lawsuit

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

The bad blood between bitter rivals Oracle and SAP may ease slightly after the settlement of a lengthy lawsuit

For years Oracle and its German rival SAP remained locked in a bitter lawsuit over software piracy, but now both parties have reportedly settled the lawsuit, ending seven years of legal wrangling.

Long Time Coming

The case began back in 2007, when Oracle sued after a now-defunct US-based affiliate of SAP, called TomorrowNow, illegally downloaded more than eight million instances of Oracle customer-support software and hundreds of thousands of pages of supporting documentation. Oracle further claimed that those tools were then used to lure around 350 customers away from Oracle and over to SAP.

Court lawsuit gavelOracle claimed that the stolen documents enabled SAP to entice customers into buying similar services at lower prices from them.

SAP took corporate responsibility for its affiliates actions in October 2010 and officially apologised on November on the same year. It had acquired Texas-based TomorrowNow back in 2005, but it was in 2007 that the affiliate was caught stealing Oracle’s intellectual property by gaining unauthorised access to a customer-support Oracle Web site and downloading copyrighted support software and documentation.

In 2010, an eight-person jury in California awarded Oracle the princely sum of $1.3bn (£830m), but the case went to appeal and the judge threw out that award, calling the penalty “grossly excessive”. Earlier this year a federal appeals court said Oracle could either accept $356.7m (£228m), or opt for a retrial against SAP.

Lawsuit Settlement

Oracle had argued that SAP should pay the original £830m fine, but has now agreed to the reduced penalty, meaning that SAP will have to pay it £228m.

“We are thrilled about this landmark recovery and extremely gratified that our efforts to protect innovation and our shareholders’ interests are duly rewarded,” Oracle’s general counsel Dorian Daley said in a statement, according to Reuters.

SAP likewise claimed it was pleased that the courts “ultimately accepted SAP’s arguments to limit Oracle’s excessive damages claims and that Oracle has finally chosen to end this matter.”

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