Oracle on Monday was hit with a counterclaim by Rimini Street, the third-party software maintenance provider it sued in January over alleged intellectual property violations.
Oracle's suit is groundless, anticompetitive and disparaging, Rimini Street said in the response filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.
Rimini Street provides support for SAP and Oracle applications, pledging that customers will save at least 50 percent off their vendor-provided support bills. While third-party support means customers don't receive product upgrades, Rimini Street caters to companies with stable legacy systems and no immediate desire for updates.
Vendors fiercely covet annual software maintenance revenues, which are charged as a percentage of a customer's license fees and provide steady income even when new business is harder to find. "Software license updates and product support" accounted for 51 percent of Oracle's total revenue in its most recent quarter, generating $3.3 billion against just $281 million in operating expenses, for a profit margin north of 90 percent.
Oracle's suit against Rimini Street followed a similar one it filed in 2007 against SAP and its former subsidiary, TomorrowNow, which also offered third-party support for Oracle applications. TomorrowNow workers illegally downloaded software from Oracle's support systems, according to Oracle. SAP has said the employees were authorized to download the materials on behalf of TomorrowNow customers, but also that some "inappropriate downloads" had occurred.
Rimini Street CEO Seth Ravin was a founder of TomorrowNow. Oracle has alleged Rimini Street amounts to a redux of TomorrowNow's "corrupt" business model.
Rimini Street "typically logs on to Oracle's password protected Technical Support websites using a customer credential, then downloads Software and Support Materials in excess of the customer's authorization under its license agreement," according to Oracle's suit.
Rimini Street's answer and counterclaim denies wrongdoing on its part.
"Oracle had full knowledge that Rimini Street's actions were authorized by Oracle's customers," it states. "Far from acting as 'fraudulent thieves,' Rimini Street has acted legally, openly (and often with Oracle's full cooperation)." In addition, Oracle has been unresponsive to invitations to discuss Rimini's business practices or have them independently vetted, the filing alleges.
Rimini Street also takes "extraordinary efforts ... to ensure that Oracle's intellectual property rights are respected," whereas Oracle has conducted a "systematic campaign" against Rimini, including a series of "hostile" letters, the filing states.