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SAP agrees to minimum $306m damages settlement for infringing Oracle's copyrights

Out-Law News | 03 Aug 2012 | 2:26 pm | 1 min. read

SAP the largest European based software company has agreed to pay Oracle at least $306 million in compensation for infringing on the software giant's copyrights.

The company previously admitted that its US subsidiary TomorrowNow had accessed Oracle's systems and stolen Oracle's software and support documentation in order to lure customers of Oracle-acquired companies to become SAP customers. SAP and Oracle are rivals in the market for business software.

In 2010 a US jury said that SAP should have to pay Oracle $1.3 billion in damages, but a US judge subsequently revised the damages award, ruling that SAP should pay no more than $272m in compensation.

However, in a statement Oracle said the companies had agreed that SAP should pay $306m over the copyright infringement. SAP previously paid Oracle $120m to cover legal fees incurred by the software giant.

"SAP, which admitted infringement before the 2010 trial and pled guilty to a number of criminal charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice after trial, must pay us a minimum of $426 million, including attorneys’ fees,” Dorian Daley, Oracle's General Counsel, said in a statement issued by the firm.

Oracle said it would now try to convince the US Court of Appeals to order SAP to award it $1.3bn in damages as the jury had previously determined.

The jury trial had heard that TomorrowNow's automated downloading of Oracle material at one point crashed Oracle's systems. In delivering the verdict the jury foreman had said that the jury came to what it thought was a "fair number" by looking not at the profits that Oracle had lost but at the fair market value for the licence that SAP needed to carry out its activities, according to a report by news agency Bloomberg at the time.

"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," said Oracle president Safra Catz in the aftermath of the 2010 ruling. "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."

SAP had outlined its disappointment at the verdict and expressed desire to resolve the issue "without more years of litigation."

Earlier this year Oracle failed to convince a US court that Google had infringed its copyrights in the way the internet giant had used Java technology in its Android operating system.

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