Oracle to expand SAP lawsuit, may target execs

Oracle claims that SAP's TomorrowNow subsidiary stole software applications from Oracle with the knowledge of SAP execs

Oracle plans to expand its lawsuit against SAP to include charges that its TomorrowNow subsidiary stole software applications from Oracle, and that it did so with the knowledge of SAP executives, according to court papers filed Thursday.

Oracle said it plans to file a second amended complaint against SAP and TomorrowNow that will reveal "a pattern of unlawful conduct that is different from, and even more serious than," the conduct described in its initial complaint.

SAP's lawyers accused Oracle of exaggerating its claims, using court filings as "press releases" and trying to prolong the case unnecessarily. "Ignoring Judge Jenkins's admonitions, Oracle continues to submit hyperbolic argument in the guise of (court documents)," SAP's lawyers wrote.

Oracle filed its suit against SAP a year ago, alleging that TomorrowNow employees posed as Oracle customers in order to download software patches and other support materials from an Oracle support Web site. TomorrowNow used the materials to provide cut-price services to Oracle customers, and try to switch them to SAP's platform, Oracle said.

Based on recent depositions, Oracle now claims that TomorrowNow workers downloaded Oracle business applications, as well as just its support materials. "TomorrowNow then used the software to service other customers, train its employees, and create fake 'SAP' branded fixes, updates and related documentation for distribution," Oracle said.

It also said SAP executives may have been complicit -- something SAP has vehemently denied. "It appears that SAP AG and SAP America knew -- at executive levels -- of the likely illegality of TN's [TomorrowNow's] business model from the time of their acquisition of TN and, for business reasons, failed to change it," Oracle said. It did not name any SAP executives.

The new charges are outlined in a 30-page joint filing submitted ahead of a case management conference scheduled for next week at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. Oracle said it hopes SAP will agree to its filing the amended complaint, otherwise it will amend the new charges to the current one.

SAP did not return a call for comment Thursday evening. It posted the documents on its Web site about the case. Oracle also has a Web page about the suit.

SAP has admitted that TomorrowNow may have made some "inappropriate downloads" from Oracle, and has replaced top executives at the subsidiary since the case was filed. But it has characterized any wrongdoing as isolated incidents, rather than the pattern of illegal behavior that Oracle alleges.

Oracle is seeking damages to be proven at trial, an injunction for SAP to return any Oracle software, and legal costs.

SAP reluctantly agreed with Oracle to push the jury trial date back by a year to February 2010, the new documents show. Oracle said it needs the time to complete discovery. SAP wants to retain the date for a settlement conference this October, but Oracle asked the court to delay that by a year also.

SAP's lawyers repeatedly expressed frustration at Oracle for what they view as delaying the case by demanding "limitless discovery." They asked the court to make Oracle explain soon how SAP's conduct has damaged the company.

"Oracle recites essentially every element of every one of its claims as a factual dispute, ignoring that its repetitive claims all boil down to the same basic issues -- what was allegedly copied; was that copying permissible; how was Oracle harmed? Those are the factual issues in dispute," SAP said.

"Oracle does not want to be focused, nor does it apparently want to effectively or timely resolve this case," it said.

Oracle said the case involves an "extraordinary" amount of discovery, including terabytes of computer records that take weeks just to copy, forensic scientists, and "potentially hundreds of third parties." It also asked to extend the length of the trial from four weeks to six.

From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies