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SAP agrees to pay Oracle $120m over 'industrial espionage'

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SAP has agreed to pay Oracle $120m in connection with the intellectual property lawsuit Oracle filed against its rival over what Larry Ellison calls "industrial espionage."

On Monday, the two companies filed a joint stipulation in a Northern California federal court that would see SAP pay Ellison and company $120m for "past and future reasonable attorneys fees and costs," IDG News Service reports.

Oracle sued SAP in 2007, claiming that its TomorrowNow subsidiary illegally obtained Oracle software and support documents in an effort to woo customers away from the company. SAP has already admitted wrong-doing, and it has shut down TomorrowNow. But SAP and Oracle continue to battle over damages. Oral arguments in the case are set to begin in an Oakland, California, courtroom Tuesday.

In Monday's court filing, TomorrowNow "stipulates to entry of judgment on Oracle's claims for violations of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and California's Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, breach of contract, intentional interference, negligent interference, unfair competition, trespass to chattels, unjust enrichment/restitution and an accounting." And Oracle says that if SAP pays the $120m in fees and costs, it will not seek punitive damages.

SAP must pay Oracle by November 9, if the court approves the joint stipulation. Either company can pull out of the agreement if any part is not approved.

In recent days, Oracle boss Larry Ellison has used the legal kerfuffle to toss public barbs at partner Hewlett-Packard, which recently named former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker. At one point, he threatened to drag Apotheker into court and force him to testify in the TomorrowNow case.

Ellison accused Apotheker of engaging in an industrial espionage scheme while at SAP, and then he called HP chairman Ray Lane a liar for defending Apotheker.

"HP chairman Ray Lane has taken the position that Leo Apotheker is innocent of wrongdoing because he didn't know anything about the stealing going on at SAP while Leo was CEO. The most basic facts of the case show this to be an absurd lie," Ellison said in a statement.

"Leo knew all about the stealing. In fact, Leo did not stop the stealing until seven months after he became CEO. Why so long? We'd like to know.

"Ray Lane and the rest of the HP Board do not want anyone to know. That's the new HP Way with Ray in charge and Leo on the run. It's time to change the HP tagline from 'Invent' to 'Steal'."

Apotheker was set to start at HP on Monday, and Ellison threatened to haul him into court that same day. But over the weekend, SAP agreed to acknowledge that its executives were aware of TomorowNow's crimes, and Apotheker was let off the hook.

HP named Apotheker CEO after dumping Ellison tennis buddy Mark Hurd, who has now joined Oracle. Ellison verbally bitch-slapped the HP board for ejecting Hurd, calling them idiots. ®

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