Jury Selection Starts in Oracle-SAP Software Theft Trial

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-11-01

Selection of a jury in U.S. District Court in Oakland was the first order of business Nov. 1 for Judge Shirley Hamilton as the long-awaited financial restitution trial began in Oracle's intellectual property piracy case against German enterprise application maker SAP.

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.

Oracle waived all charges except the copyright infringement claim against SAP, which has long been 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 exactly 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, in admitting culpability for TomorrowNow, 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.

TomorrowNow since has been liquidated by SAP.


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