A document filed last week by SAP indicates there may be no quick settlement to its rancorous legal entanglement with rival enterprise software maker Oracle, even though SAP admits that some of Oracle's claims about its former subsidiary TomorrowNow are true.
In its lengthy response to Oracle's even more voluminous third amended complaint in the case, SAP concedes some Oracle claims but overall denies liability and demands a jury trial. A judge has already set a February 2010 date for such a proceeding.
Oracle filed suit SAP in March 2007, charging that workers at SAP's now-shuttered subsidiary TomorrowNow, a provider of support for Oracle's PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Siebel applications, had illegally downloaded material from Oracle's support systems and used them to court Oracle customers.
Oracle has also claimed that with the knowledge of SAP's executive board, SAP workers "made thousands of copies of Oracle's underlying software applications on its computer systems," and that SAP used Oracle's code for training, customer service and "generally to support a business model that was illegal to its core."
SAP's alleged behavior amounted to "corporate theft on the grandest scale," Oracle has said.
Meanwhile, SAP has acknowledged that TomorrowNow staff members made some "inappropriate downloads" from Oracle's Web site and that Oracle's software remained in TomorrowNow's systems. SAP has also strongly rejected Oracle's claims of a broader pattern of wrongdoing.
SAP restated its overall position in the most recent filing. "Because Plaintiffs have publicly admitted that TN had the right, in some instances, to access Plaintiffs' computers and use the Software and Support Materials therein, this case (once parsed of Plaintiffs' rhetoric) is simply about whether [TomorrowNow] exceeded its rights to access Plaintiffs' computers, whether that harmed Plaintiffs, and, if so, by how much," one passage reads.
"Plaintiffs rely on snippets and excerpts of documents to construct a tale of intrigue, when the truth is far simpler, though less exciting -- SAP bought TN with the hope that providing [Oracle] customers a choice in maintenance might give them the time to consider alternative, and better, enterprise software," another section states.
But SAP's filing also confirms some Oracle claims.
"Defendants admit that TN, on behalf of its customers, has downloaded and stored a large quantity of Software and Support Materials, further admit that downloads occurred of materials as to which TN did not have confirmation that the customer in whose name the downloads were being conducted had rights to such materials, and further admit that TN used those materials for customer support," one passage reads.