A federal jury handed Oracle a victory Tuesday in its long-running copyright infringement case against SAP, awarding the enterprise software behemoth $1.3 billion, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
For Oracle (ORCL), it was a victory for the company's decision to take its case all the way to a jury trial, despite previous attempts by its arch-rival SAP (SAP) to offer a partial settlement for a reported $120 million. Oracle had previously argued the damage its company endured amounted to between $288 million to $3 billion, while SAP said it was more in the range of $28 million to $41 million, the Journal notes.
SAP shares were down 1.4% to $48.01 in after hours trading.
The case centered on SAP's former subsidiary TomorrowNow, which SAP acknowledged had accessed maintenance and support documents and information provided to Oracle's former customers under their contract, even after the subsidiary became part of SAP. Instead, SAP acknowledged that its SAP TomorrowNow employees pilfered additional information, violating Oracle's copyrights. In all, 120 copyrights were violated.
SAP says it will seek an appeal if necessary, In a statement, the software applications maker said:
We are, of course, disappointed by this verdict and will pursue all available options, including post-trial motions and appeal if necessary. This will unfortunately be a prolonged process and we continue to hope that the matter can be resolved appropriately without more years of litigation. The mark of a leading company is the way it handles its mistakes. As stated in court, we regret the actions of TomorrowNow, we have accepted liability, and have been willing to fairly compensate Oracle. Throughout this matter, our customers, employees and partners have stood by us and, for that, we are grateful. Our focus now is looking forward, helping our customers be best run businesses, and extending our legacy of industry leadership well into the future. We thank the jury for its diligent service through this lengthy trial and the Court for its supervision of this complex case
In the legal world, post trial deal-making may include striking a settlement for than what the defendant was previously offered, yet less than the jury award. This type of arrangement is often designed to not only cut down on legal wrangling, but it also serve as a face-saving device for the party that lost, and a lock-in of a higher payout than the defendant last offered.
Oracle's co-president Safra Catz weighed in on the verdict, stating:
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. Right before the trial began, SAP admitted its guilt and liability; then the trial made it clear that SAPs 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.
The jury returned their verdict with lightening speed, taking less than a day to hash things over. Such quick decisions typically spell trouble for defendants, and in this case, that scenario played itself out. And, more importantly, who wants to talk turkey over the holidays?