Software giant SAP ordered to pay US rival Oracle $1.3 billion | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 24.11.2010
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Software giant SAP ordered to pay US rival Oracle $1.3 billion

German-based SAP, the world's largest business application software maker, has been ordered by a US jury to pay US rival Oracle $1.3 billion in damages for copyright infringement. The judgment could be a record.

SAP sign above entrance to company headquarters

SAP's reputation is likely to suffer after the damages award

A US jury has ordered German business software giant SAP to pay its US rival Oracle $1.3 billion (970 million euros) in damages for copyright infringement. The award could be the highest-ever in such a case.

According to court documents, the SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow downloaded and copied millions of Oracle's files by posing as clients.

Oracle, which is the world's second-largest maker of business software, sued SAP in 2007, asking the jury for $1.7 billion (1.27 billion euros) in damages.

SAP admitted that TomorrowNow violated copyright laws by wrongfully downloading maintenance software from Oracle's website to avoid paying license fees.

But it argued that damages should be limited to just 30 million euros ($40 million), as it did not profit greatly from the copyright violation.

The company has said it was disappointed by the verdict and might appeal.

The case has attracted additional attention because of the recent appointment of former SAP chief Leo Apotheker as CEO of US computer giant Hewlett-Packard.

During the trial, Oracle accused Apotheker of involvement in the operations of TomorrowNow. However, it did not seem to produce any evidence of his knowing about the theft. Apotheker did not testify at the trial.

In after-hours trade, Oracle's share price rose 1.5 percent, while that of SAP fell 1.4 percent.

Author: Timothy Jones
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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