Oracle wants SAP to pay billions for looted programs

Nov 23, 2010 by Glenn Chapman
Attorneys for business software giant Oracle on Monday urged a jury to order German rival SAP to pay billions of dollars for looting its software libraries for competitive advantage.

Attorneys for business software giant Oracle want a jury to order German rival SAP to pay billions of dollars for looting its software libraries for competitive advantage.

Lawyers for SAP have rejected the notion that the pilfering of programs was worthy of more than 40 million dollars, calling the reasoning for many times that amount "silliness" or "crazy."

Both companies made their pitches to jurors in a high-stakes copyright infringement damages trial playing out in a federal court in the California city of Oakland.

The panel returns on Tuesday for its first full day of deliberations.

Magistrate Phyllis Hamilton ordered jurors not to discuss the case outside the deliberation room or in online locales including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace.

"I'm not proud of this and SAP is not proud of this," SAP attorney Robert Mittelstaedt said during closing arguments in which he conceded the copyright infringement by SAP and focused on minimizing any damage award.

"SAP is here to pay the damages now."

SAP was there, but its former chief executive Leo Apotheker avoided efforts by Oracle's trial team to serve him a subpoena that would have compelled him to testify at trial.

Apotheker was recently hired by US computer giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) to replace Mark Hurd as chief executive, but HP refused to help track the former SAP boss down for the trial.

"I think it was too bad," Oracle lawyer David Boies said of Apotheker winning the game of hide-and-seek with process servers.

Apotheker was on the SAP board that unanimously approved a deal to buy US technology firm TomorrowNow, which recovered and copied massive amounts of Oracle software and by posing as clients.

TomorrowNow answered directly to the SAP board and was considered a "cornerstone" of the German company's business plan, according to Boies.

SAP admitted to the in legal "stipulations" that cleared the way for a jury trial regarding how much should be paid to Oracle in damages.

Oracle says in court documents that SAP used a customized software tool dubbed "Titan" to plunder Oracle's website of patches, updates, fixes and other programs crafted for Oracle's paying customers.

"What SAP did was beyond the pale," said Bingham McCutchen law firm partner Geoffrey Howard, who is part of the Oracle trial team. "It was massive data scraping by SAP."

Oracle attorneys told AFP outside of court on Monday that the case was about protecting intellectual property key to the value of technology companies.

Boies told jurors that SAP owed Oracle the fair market value of its copyrighted software at the time the program plundering began in early 2005.

He suggested to jurors a range of 1.6 billion dollars to 3 billion dollars. He later declined to pinpoint what he thought damages should tally, only to say "multiples of billions."

"TomorrowNow was gaining traction and was a real threat," Boies told jurors. "The results were very enriching to SAP and very damaging to Oracle."

Mittelstaedt contended that Oracle value estimates were "self-serving" and not in keeping with the realities of the world of licensing copyrighted software.

Mittlestaedt parsed testimony at length in a bid to convince jurors that fair compensation to Oracle was approximately 40 million dollars.

"We know SAP thought this was incredibly valuable because we have their documents," Boies argued. "We also know they wanted to disrupt ."

US computer giant Hewlett-Packard named former SAP chief executive Apotheker as its new president and CEO in September.

Apotheker, 57, spent more than 20 years at SAP, one of the world's largest business companies.

Apotheker replaced Hurd, who resigned as chief executive of HP after a sexual harassment probe uncovered subterfuge with company expenses.

Explore further: HP revenue inches up after years of decline

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Apotheker a no-show in Oracle-SAP trial

Nov 19, 2010

(AP) -- An industrial espionage trial between Oracle Corp. and SAP AG, two of the world's biggest business software makers, didn't feature after all the testimony of one of its most anticipated witnesses.

Ellison: Oracle has $4 billion case against SAP

Nov 08, 2010

(AP) -- Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison turned up the pressure in an industrial espionage trial Monday by testifying that archenemy SAP AG should have paid $4 billion for licenses to Oracle software.

SAP won't fight Oracle claims in espionage case

Aug 06, 2010

(AP) -- In a surprise twist in a corporate espionage case involving two of the world's biggest business software makers, SAP AG on Thursday said it won't fight claims that a subsidiary stole valuable data from rival Oracle ...

Recommended for you

HP revenue inches up after years of decline

11 hours ago

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday reported that its quarterly revenue rose for the first time in three years, nudged by improved computer sales everywhere except Russia and China.

Restaurants experimenting with pay-in-advance tickets

14 hours ago

With restaurant patrons increasingly jumping on the Internet to make reservations, some high-end eateries here and across the country are adding a new tech wrinkle: having their clientele pay for their meal in advance using ...

Chip maker Infineon to buy California firm for $3B (Update)

17 hours ago

German chip maker Infineon Technologies AG says it has agreed to pay $3 billion in cash for California-based semiconductor firm International Rectifier, which produces power-management components used in everything from cars ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Nov 23, 2010
This year is totally "Sue You!" year..
not rated yet Nov 23, 2010
I haven't heard the name of so called superlawyer David Boies for a while. That is the turkey that represented Al Gore in the 2000 election, lied in his presentation to the US Supreme Court, and thought it was a good idea to only recount in a few Florida districts and not the whole state. A real sleazy piece of work.
not rated yet Nov 24, 2010
So its not just the Chinese who steal whatever technology they can. Can't sue China very easily though.

Even though HP was clearly not involved in this, unwittingly hiring someone who was makes them look bad. I can understand how this guy would want to stay out of it as much as possible. And I can imagine the HP shareholders and board of directors might want to look at this guy a little deeper themselves.

@AkiBola What did this guy Boies lie about in his Supreme Court argument?