Oracle is reportedly being awarded $1.3 Billion from SAP, as the result of a jury’s verdict following an 11-day trial. The case dates back to 2007 when Orcale sued SAP for illegal downloading of its software for resale to Oracle customers, by TommorowNow, a company SAP acquired in 2005.
Oracle filed suit against SAP the Spring of 2007, after the company discovered TomorrowNow was accessing Oracle databases with former customer passwords and downloading proprietary information. TomorrowNow used the downloads to sell products to Oracle customers for half the price of what Oracle was charging.
Here’s a snippet from our coverage in July of 2007, just after TomorrowNow admitted it had downloaded the files:
SAP is defending its subsidiary by saying that TN customers authorized them to download files on their behalf, a defense Eric Goldman calls the "proxy defense" that’s doomed to fail.<
"Oracle can control the manner and means by which people access its servers," writes Goldman, "so even if it permits its customers to access the site, that permission isn’t automatically extensible to third parties acting on the customers’ behalf. Indeed, Oracle expressly precluded such behavior in some cases."
According to Bloomberg, who broke the news:
The verdict, which came after one day of deliberations, is the biggest ever for copyright infringement and the largest U.S. jury award of 2010, according to Bloomberg data. The award is about equal to SAP’s forecasted net income for the fourth quarter, excluding some costs, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
SAP spokesman Bill Wohl said the German software maker will pursue all available options, including post-trial motions and will appeal if necessary. “This will unfortunately be a prolonged process and we continue to hope that the matter can be resolved appropriately without more years of litigation.”
Former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker is of course now running HP, which has created some turbulence between Oracle and HP this year.