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SAP accepts liability in Oracle copyright case - but argues damages

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10th Aug 2010
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SAP plans to accept responsibility for its TomorrowNow acquisition’s alleged infringement of Oracle’s copyright in a bid to resolve the long-running case more speedily, although it will seek to have damages claims reduced.

In pre-trial filings made at the end of last week, SAP also said that it would accept financial responsibility for any penalties awarded against its £10 million purchase, even though it attested that it was not involved in the company’s service operations and did not engage in any of the copying or downloading activity alleged in Oracle’s complaint.

Werner Brandt, SAP’s chief financial officer, said: "By accepting responsibility for TomorrowNow’s actions, SAP is taking a decisive move to focus the issues in the case. We acknowledged three years ago that TomorrowNow made mistakes and we took direct action to address Oracle’s concerns, including shutting down the company nearly two years ago."

The firm was "committed" to compensating Oracle for the harm the "limited operations" of TomorrowNow had actually caused, but Oracle’s "unreasonable" damages were an "unproductive distraction" in finding a "fair resolution" to the case, he added.

Oracle claims that it likely suffered more than $1 billion in damages, but SAP said that the figure was more likely to be in the “tens of millions” of dollars.

Oracle sued SAP in 2007, after claiming that TomorrowNow, which it had purchased two years earlier, had routinely and illegally accessed Oracle’s intellectual property. TomorrowNow was set up to cater to the maintenance and support requirements of disgruntled JD Edwards and PeopleSoft customers who were unhappy that both businesses had been acquired by Oracle.

But Oracle attested that the acquisition had used improperly obtained software and downloaded support documents without authorisation. It also claimed that, while SAP executives were aware of the situation when they bought the company, they had allowed the activity to continue.

The trial is scheduled to begin in November.

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