Oracle to revive verdict or order new trial in SAP copying case
May 13, 2014 06:57 PM EDT
A Bloomberg report said Oracle Corp has been seeking to reinstate a 2010 jury verdict that awarded the company $1.3 billion in damages for claims against SAP AG over software copying. The largest database software maker has asked a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals in San Francisco to either revive the verdict or order a new trial to decide on the alleged downloading and copying of Oracle software by the now defunct subsidiary of SAP.
Oracle attorney Kathleen Sullivan had told the panel that SAP estimated to receive as much as $900 million in revenue from the software maintenance unit, which downloaded the oracle code in order to steal away the latter's customers and avoid paying for a license in the process. Sullivan insisted that the verdict was correct as Oracle had based it on estimates about the infringed software's fair market value and the detailed financial information about the software's estimated earnings from both Oracle and SAP
Bloomberg noted that the $1.3 billion award, a record of its kind, was the largest ever for copyright infringement. The award reportedly was based on how much would it cost SAP to pay Oracle for a license for its disputed software. According to a federal judge, the 2010 verdict had to be thrown out as Oracle had never licensed the software in question, and did not show any benchmarks to justify the amount of the award.
US Circuit Judge Susan Graber, one of the appellate court judges, has her concerns about making a decision on the 2010 verdict. She said, "(Revenue estimates don't) suggest anything about what the license might have cost. Even if it was objective, my concern is that it's evidence of something else. But all of that demonstrates what they could have earned from it, which is different from what is the price of a license."
US Circuit Judge William Fletcher also questioned the reliability of the estimates provided by both companies. He said, "This may be sort of pie in the sky, dreaming. There are a lot of variables in there that make it somewhat speculative."
Bloomberg said that the panel fell short of telling when it will rule on the matter. On the other hand, both companies had entered into a stipulated judgement in August 2 years ago, wherein SAP is liable to pay Oracle at least $306 million regardless of the outcome of the appeal.