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Oracle deploys lawyers against Solaris fix-it duo

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Oracle have unleashed its lawyers onto two Solaris fix-it companies, accusing them of stealing copyrighted code through their work with customers.

The database giant has filed action against Terix and Maintech saying they took or facilitated the removal of “large quantities” of copyrighted Solaris patches, updates and bug fixes.

Oracle alleges the duo duped end users by claiming they had the authority to access patches from Oracle’s Solaris support site and to then distribute them to their own customers.

In a filing made to the US district court for the Northern District of California, Oracle said it is seeking unspecified damages over copyright infringement on Solaris, false advertising, breach of contract, intentional interference with prospective economic relations, and unfair competition against the companies.

According to Oracle’s filing: “While a customer may engage a third party – instead of Oracle – to provide support services on Oracle hardware, neither the third party nor the customer can access Oracle’s support web site to support that hardware.

“Defendants ignored these fundamental rules and restrictions as part of their own support services for Oracle hardware to customers that need access to Oracle’s proprietary patches and updates.”

The company claims Terix, with Maintech’s knowledge, “misrepresented itself” as an Oracle partner authorised to provide Solaris support.

In a statement to The Register Terix chief executive Bernd Appleby said his company describes itself as an independent support service firm and had never claimed an affiliation with Oracle.

“Terix acts only as an authorized agent of the end-users, pursuant to their rights, to facilitate support services. Each end-user referenced in the complaint has valid license, rights, entitlements and credentials provided by Oracle. Each end-user has their unique login credentials which are only used for the sole benefit of that end-user and are never shared. Oracle’s complaint is without any basis in either law or fact," said Appleby.

Frank D’Alessio, president of Maintech, had no comment beyond: “We believe Oracle’s claims are without merit.”

The case echoes Oracle’s pursuit of ServiceKey through the US courts, over similar claims that the Solaris support specialist illegally distributed Oracle-owned code and support to the US Navy and US Food and Drug Administration. The case was settled out of court in May, although Oracle has been claiming victory.

The database giant’s focus on channel companies supporting its operating system updates the initial attack on those supporting Oracle apps. The opening salvo was against SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow on its support of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel. Oracle accused SAP and TomorrowNow of corporate theft on a “grand scale” and eventually secured a $1.3bn award from SAP three years later.

Since TomorrowNow, Oracle has gone to war with Rimini Street and CedarCresetone, alleging Rimini Street has also helped itself to Oracle-copyrighted code, while claiming ex-partner CedarCrestone had illegally supported E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and Fusion Middleware and that it made “false claims” to potential customers, saying it developed updates independently of Oracle.

Rimini said it acts within the rights granted under Oracle customers' licenses, while CedarCrestone has denied any wrongdoing. They accuse Oracle of trying to scare customers and of launching a broader war on the competition. ®

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