SAP to Pay Oracle £820 million in Copyrights

With an award of $1.3 billion (£820 million), Oracle will be banking the largest US copyright infringement award on record. The money will come from long-time enterprise application rival SAP after a federal court jury concluded that to be fair restitution in a three-year old copyright infringement lawsuit.

In 2007, Oracle filed a claim that SAP, through an affiliate division, illegally downloaded more than eight million instances of its customer-support software and hundreds of thousands of pages of supporting documentation from one of its web sites, then used those tools to lure some 350 customers away from Oracle and over to SAP.

SAP took corporate responsibility for its affiliate's actions in a court document filed on October 28 and officially apologised on November 16. There was no immediate indication that SAP would definitely appeal the decision.

"We are, of course, disappointed by this verdict and will pursue all available options, including post-trial motions and appeal if necessary," SAP corporate spokesman Jim Dever told eWEEK in an email. "This will unfortunately be a prolonged process and we continue to hope that the matter can be resolved appropriately without more years of litigation.

"The mark of a leading company is the way it handles its mistakes. As stated in court, we regret the actions of TomorrowNow. We have accepted liability and have been willing to fairly compensate Oracle," he said.

"Throughout this matter, our customers, employees and partners have stood by us and, for that, we are grateful," he continued. "Our focus now is looking forward, helping our customers be best run businesses and extending our legacy of industry leadership well into the future.

"We thank the jury for its diligent service through this lengthy trial and the court for its supervision of this complex case," Dever concluded.

Oracle president Safra Catz said in a statement to the press: "For more than three years, SAP stole thousands of copies of Oracle software and then resold that software and related services to Oracle's own customers. Right before the trial began, SAP admitted its guilt and liability; then the trial made it clear that SAP's most senior executives were aware of the illegal activity from the very beginning. As a result, a United States federal court has ordered SAP to pay Oracle $1.3 billion. This is the largest amount ever awarded for software piracy."

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