SAP Moves To Reduce Fine For Illegal Downloads

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SAP said a refusal to reduce the fine imposed in favour of Oracle would lead it to appeal the original decision

An SAP spokesman told eWEEK February 3 that the enterprise application maker will begin filing motions in federal district court in an effort to lower the $1.3 billion fine a jury ordered last November in the Oracle copyright violation case.

SAP also said that, failing a reduction in the fine through the motions, it may also appeal the decision.

SAP Affiliate’s Illegal Downloads

In the original litigation, Oracle claimed that more than eight million instances of its enterprise support software worth $2.15 billion were stolen, stored on SAP’s servers and used without its permission.

In that three-week-long trial, the eight-person jury ruled that SAP, the world’s largest enterprise application maker, was guilty of stealing software and documentation and copyright infringement with Oracle, its long-time market rival.

Oracle, in its lawsuit filed in 2007, claimed that SAP – through a US-based affiliate division called TomorrowNow – illegally downloaded the instances of its customer-support software and hundreds of thousands of pages of supporting documentation from one of its Web sites, then used those tools to lure some 350 customers away from Oracle and over to SAP.

To its credit, SAP took corporate responsibility for its affiliate’s actions in a court document filed October 28 and officially apologised on November 16.

“We have accepted liability for the actions of TomorrowNow and have been willing to fairly compensate Oracle, but we believe that the amount awarded by the jury is disproportionate and wrong,” SAP spokesman Saswato Das told eWEEK.

“SAP is permitted to challenge the jury’s award by way of ‘post-trial motions’, which are made to the trial judge. SAP will file these motions in the coming weeks, asking the court to reduce the amount of damages awarded or to order a new trial.

“We look forward to the court’s resolution of the issues we will raise in our post-trial motions. Depending on the outcome of the post-trial motion process, SAP may also consider an appeal,” he said.

Regrettable decision in 2005

Germany-based SAP, the world’s largest maker and distributor of enterprise application software, certainly is regretting the 2005 acquisition of a now-defunct Texas-based affiliate, TomorrowNow, which performed the misdeeds that led to the lawsuit and jury decision.

SAP already has paid $120 million for court costs to Oracle and argued that another $40 million in restitution would constitute a fair amount.

Oracle originally claimed in court documents that its lost assets were valued at $2.15 billion, although CEO Larry Ellison testified that $4 billion was closer to the actual amount.

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