Oracle awarded $1.3 billion in SAP lawsuit

The amount is slightly less than what Oracle's damages expert recommended but far more than SAP said it should pay

By , IDG News Service |  Legal, Oracle, SAP

A jury on Tuesday awarded Oracle $1.3 billion in damages in its corporate theft lawsuit against SAP.

The award was a blow to the German applications vendor, which had argued it should pay no more than $40 million for the software stolen by its TomorrowNow subsidiary.

[ $1.3 billion damage award a clear victory for Oracle ]

Oracle called it "the largest amount ever awarded for software piracy." Members of its legal team embraced as the verdict was read in the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, according to a person in the courtroom. Closing arguments had been presented Monday afternoon, so the jury took less than a full day to reach its decision.

It was not the full amount Oracle had asked for, but still considerably more than SAP had argued it should have to pay. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison testified two weeks ago that SAP should be made to pay as much as $4 billion to cover the cost of the stolen software.

In the end, the amount awarded was closer to the sum suggested by Oracle's damages expert, who put the figure at $1.7 billion. SAP's damages expert had told the jury that SAP should have to pay about $40 million in damages, to cover Oracle's lost profits.

"We are, of course, disappointed by this verdict and will pursue all available options, including post-trial motions and appeal if necessary," SAP said in a statement.

The verdict follows an 11-day trial that captivated Silicon Valley with the drama of the two biggest business-software-applications vendors battling in court. Top executives including Ellison, Oracle co-President Safra Catz and SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott appeared in the witness box.

The battle appears not to be entirely over, however, and SAP suggested its appeal could take a long time to play out. "This will unfortunately be a prolonged process and we continue to hope that the matter can be resolved appropriately without more years of litigation," it said.

SAP never denied that TomorrowNow had downloaded software and support materials illegally from an Oracle website, although it did initially deny knowing about it. The trial was to determine how much SAP should pay.

TomorrowNow provided low-cost support services to customers of JD Edwards and PeopleSoft, which Oracle had just acquired when SAP bought TomorrowNow in 2005. Oracle's lawyers argued that SAP felt threatened by the acquisitions and bought TomorrowNow as a way to undercut Oracle's maintenance revenue from those applications, and to try to lure customers to SAP's own software.

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