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Oracle scores mixed bag in Rimini Street software IP 'theft' ruling

Judge's decision paves way for full jury trial

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Oracle has been handed a partial victory in its IP violation case against software support provider Rimini Street.

A US court hearing Oracle's case has issued a summary judgment saying that in two of the four incidents cited by Oracle, Rimini was in the wrong.

Oracle claimed to have identified illegal copies of its software being used by customers including the US City of Flint, Pittsburgh Public Schools, industrial firm Giant Cement and Novell.

At issue was whether the software - 12 instances of Oracle's PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel software packages - was allowed to be copied and run on Rimini systems.

The District Court of Nevada sided with Oracle on City of Flint and Pittsburgh, saying the wording of the customers' Oracle licences didn't entitle Rimini to make copies of the software in question.

But the court did not go along with Oracle on Giant Cement, while the case on Novell is not clear-cut.

On Giant Cement, the court said the facts were in dispute.

According to the court it's not clear whether the copied software was being used or whether the source code had been accessed for development.

The wording of the Novell licence, meanwhile, had allowed Novell to make a "reasonable" number of copies of the Oracle software for backup and testing – and it had granted third parties the right to install, integrate and implement the software.

The court found in favour of the "plain language" of the licence - meaning the meaning was obvious.

Rimini, though, claimed Oracle had full knowledge that it was using and making copies of the Oracle software for its own systems.

The reason was Oracle knew the backup media was being shipped to Rimini's facilities with copies made. The court did not find Rimini had "implied consent" thanks to this.

The case should now move to trial.

In a statement on the findings, Oracle's attorney David Boies - who represented the Department of Justice against Microsoft in the antitrust case and SCO against IBM over violations of SCO's IP in Linux – said: "Rimini Street has used illegal and unlicensed copies of PeopleSoft software as the basis of its business. We look forward to holding Rimini Street and [Rimini Street president and chief executive] Seth Ravin accountable at trial for the damages caused by their misconduct."

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