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Oracle Software The Almighty Buck The Courts

SAP Ordered To Pay $1.3 Billion To Oracle 151

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-a-check? dept.
bdcny7927 writes with news that a jury decided to award Oracle $1.3 billion in their lawsuit against SAP after deliberating for less than a day. "The verdict ... is the biggest ever for copyright infringement and the largest US 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... SAP spokesman Bill Wohl said the German software maker will pursue all available options, including post-trial motions and will appeal if necessary."
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SAP Ordered To Pay $1.3 Billion To Oracle

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  • by Michael O-P (31524) on Monday November 29, 2010 @05:55PM (#34380380) Journal
    ...LAST WEEK when it was actually news.
  • by judeancodersfront (1760122) on Monday November 29, 2010 @06:14PM (#34380680)
    SAP in fact tried buying Oracle off but I guess their offer wasn't high enough. The trial mainly existed to determine the size of the fine.
  • by westlake (615356) on Monday November 29, 2010 @06:51PM (#34381198)

    So... an American jury finds in favor of an American company in an American court, and orders a foreign company to pay a huge sum after almost no deliberation at all.

    SAP abandoned - in August - any pretense of contesting Oracle's claims of copyright infringement. SAP Proposes Not to Contest Oracle's Copyright Claims [businessweek.com]

    That implies as well that SAP had accepted the jurisdiction of the U.S. federal court.

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- On the losing end of a $1.3 billion jury verdict for stealing a rival's intellectual property, SAP AG is facing the difficult decision about whether to double down -- by appealing -- or folding.
    Either route is going to cost the German company dearly, and will have implications for how other technology companies approach copyrights.
    A jury in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday found that SAP's behavior in plundering software and documents from archenemy Oracle Corp.'s secured websites was so egregious that it awarded Oracle nearly all of the damages it was seeking.
    If SAP appeals, it will have to endure several more years of disastrous publicity, a jackpot for Oracle.
    "I'm not sure what the grounds for an appeal are -- I'm not sure what the argument would be," said Patrick Walravens, an analyst with JMP Securities. "It's not like this was a trial that was done in a quick and dirty manner. It was three years and hundreds of millions in legal fees -- things were pretty well vetted."
    The judge in the case still has to formally affirm the jury's verdict, and could reduce the award. An order could come sometime in the next week.
    Many analysts suspect that SAP will stand down and try and figure out a way to pay one of the biggest software piracy penalties on record. Doing so would put the $10 million acquisition of the tiny, now-shuttered company called TomorrowNow that landed SAP in this mess that much farther in the rearview mirror.
    SAP at a crossroads after losing $1.3B verdict [yahoo.com]

  • by judeancodersfront (1760122) on Monday November 29, 2010 @07:12PM (#34381450)
    Lose and loose are different words.

    Oh and SAP already admitted guilt, the jury was tasked with setting the award. Sorry if that puts a damper on your little USA bash.
  • by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) on Monday November 29, 2010 @07:18PM (#34381524) Journal

    You can download almost all of Oracle's software right from their website for personal or educational use. You are expected to have a license though if you use it to conduct any business transactions. I believe that they also have a 'lite' edition of their database in case you wanted to also try that out. From their website [oracle.com]:

    Software Downloads

    Developers:

    All software downloads are free, and most come with a Developer License that allows you to use full versions of the products at no charge while developing and prototyping your applications, or for strictly self-educational purposes. You can buy products with full-use licenses at any time from the online Store or from your sales representative.

    Customers:

    If you already have a commercial license you should download your software from our E-Delivery site, which is specifically designed for customer fulfillment. For patches, see My Oracle Support.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2010 @07:23PM (#34381592)

    Basically SAP was illegally distributing Oracles software. They were also copying Oracles patches and reworking them so they would work with the pirated oracle software. Think of it as somebody selling bootleg windows and also supplying bootleg patches.

    SAP admitted to having done it. It was estimated that if they had been selling legal licenses and service contracts it would have been anywhere between 560 million and 3 billion, so 1.3 billion is a middle ground figure.

    This is one fight where Oracle actually isn't being evil and was legitimately getting ripped off.

  • by pavon (30274) on Monday November 29, 2010 @07:27PM (#34381636)

    It was password protected. TomorrowNow had employees download PeopleSoft updates and patches under an Oracle support contract, and then illegally redistributed them to their customers.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday November 29, 2010 @08:23PM (#34382196) Journal

    Well since I can't remember seeing real troll behavior from you I'll assume you are really confused and explain: Support. Just like you can buy Windows 7 in everything from Starter to Ultimate with different features included, with Oracle you get different levels of support and downloads for different tiers. What SAP did was pretend to be Oracle customers and download ALL the features and extras for ALL the levels of support and then proceeded to undercut them on their own product. It would be like you going to Apple stores and setting up your "brand new Hackintosh RAZR1911 Edition" for sale. Needless to say that didn't go over well.

    So I really don't see how SAP can bitch. They bought a company whose entire business plan was based on theft, admitted the company was stealing, and now they have to pay the price. You can't just let companies like this off on whatever the cost of the theft was, otherwise I could steal from you and if caught just give back the original while keeping the interest. the judgment has to be nasty to deter others who would do the same thing. But no matter what you think of Oracle they have the right to sell their software anyway they choose, and the company SAP bought stole patches and support that they had no right to and for a profit.

  • by afabbro (33948) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @12:30AM (#34384406) Homepage

    It's not about the conviction. It's about the insane amount of damages for copyright infringement. Has nothing to do with USA-bashing. It's called criticism of a backwards justice system. Sorry if that's to much to handle for you.

    SAP's annual revenue is more than $10 Billion a year. They are one of the top five publishers of software in the world. Do you think a $5,000 fine would really get their attention?

    SAP (actually, one of their subsidiaries) clearly stole a ton of Oracle's products and sold them for profit. They admitted this. This is not a 99-cent iTunes track, but rather software that sells for $40,000+ per CPU. Additionally, they stole patches and knowledgebase articles so they could sell support on the software they stole. You do realize SAP is a direct competitor to Oracle, right?

    Suing a 13-year-old for torrenting an mp3 and winning tens of thousands of dollars is, yes, insane. This is nothing like that. This is a modern corporation that has zero excuse for behaving in this manner. Their theft is so outrageous that anyone off the street would know it's illegal. Why do you think the CEO was hiding from subpoena servers? Do you think other CEOs behave that way?

    Sorry to put another damper on your little USA bash, but it's hard to fault Oracle here, or view SAP as any kind of victim.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman

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