Feeds

Judge kneecaps Oracle's $1.3bn triumph over SAP

Industrial espionage award 'grossly excessive'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A federal judge has tossed out a November jury award would have seen SAP pay $1.3 billion to arch-rival Oracle for theft of its intellectual property.

As reported by the AP, Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the US District Court in Oakland, California, called the original award "grossly excessive," and said that the damages should be reduced to $272 million.

If Oracle does not accept this figure, the judge recommends a retrial. And in a statement sent to The Register, Oracle indicated that it's prepared for a retrial.

“There was voluminous evidence regarding the massive scope of the theft, clear involvement of SAP management in the misconduct and the tremendous value of the IP stolen," the statement reads. "We believe the jury got it right and we intend to pursue the full measure of damages that we believe are owed to Oracle."

Oracle sued SAP in 2007, claiming that the German enterprise software giant's TomorrowNow subsidiary illegally downloaded Oracle software and support documents in an effort to pilfer Oracle customers. SAP eventually admitted wrongdoing, and it shut down TomorrowNow.

During closing arguments in an eleven-day trial this past fall, the Larry Ellison Software Machine sought $1.7 billion in damages, while SAP called for an award closer to $400m. The jury settled on $1.3 billion, the largest-ever award in a copyright infringement case.

The trial was, shall we say, enlivened when Larry Ellison announced that Oracle would subpoena ex–SAP CEO Leo Apotheker, who had just been appointed as the new boss at HP. "A few weeks ago, I accused HP's new CEO, Leo Apotheker, of overseeing an industrial espionage scheme centering on the repeated theft of massive amounts of Oracle's software," Ellison said. "HP's Chairman, Ray Lane, immediately came to Mr Apotheker's defense by writing a letter stating, 'Oracle has been litigating this case for years and has never offered any evidence that Mr. Apotheker was involved.'

"Well, that's what we are planning to do during the trial that starts next Monday – unless Mr. Lane and the rest of the HP Board of Directors decide to keep their new CEO far, far away from HP Headquarters until that trial is over."

Oracle did subpoena Apotheker, and apparently, HP did indeed keep him far, far away from HP HQ.

HP appointed Apotheker as its CEO after dumping Ellison's tennis buddy, Mark Hurd. Hurd quickly joined Oracle, and Ellison called the HP board "idiots" for cutting the man loose. He also accused HP chairman Ray Lane of lying about Apotheker's involvement in the TomorrowNow "industrial espionage". ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.