Eight-Person Jury Selected in Oracle-SAP Software Copyright Trial

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-11-02

Lawyers for Oracle and SAP selected eight jurors Nov. 1 on the first day of the long-awaited financial restitution trial involving Oracle's intellectual property piracy case against Germany-based enterprise application maker SAP.

The case is being tried before Judge Shirley Hamilton in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif.

Oracle is seeking $2.15 billion in lost income due to thefts of its database support software by a wholly owned American subsidiary for which SAP took corporate responsibility on Oct. 28.

Jury candidates were asked about their stock ownership and their familiarity with intellectual property during the 4-hour-long period of questioning. SAP's attorneys were concerned about whether potential jurors could remain unbiased toward a foreign company.

Prior to the trial, Oracle waived all charges against SAP except the copyright infringement claim, which is one of its biggest competitors in the enterprise application sector. The federal civil case is expected to take from four to six weeks.

To be decided in the trial is how much SAP will be fined for the actions of TomorrowNow, a small, Texas-based software maintenance and support company that it acquired in 2005. TomorrowNow's mission was to lure away customers from Oracle.

Oracle is asking for $2.15 billion. SAP, admitting culpability for TomorrowNow, its wholly owned subsidiary, believes "tens of millions" is warranted.

Two years after it was acquired by SAP, TomorrowNow was caught stealing Oracle's intellectual property by gaining unauthorized access to a customer-support Oracle Website and downloading copyrighted instances of support software and thousands of pages of documentation.

Oracle claimed that more than 8 million instances of its enterprise support software worth $2.15 billion were stolen, stored on SAP's servers and used without its permission.

It also charged that SAP/TomorrowNow deployed automated bots that used Oracle's own software to lure customers from PeopleSoft (owned by Oracle) over to SAP.

Enterprise support software amounts to about half of Oracle's annual revenue.

Rocket Fuel