HP wins over Oracle in Itanium legal battle

A California superior court finds for HP in the ongoing litigation with Oracle relating to the Intel Itanium platform.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Oracle just can't catch a break in any of its courtroom battles lately. Hewlett-Packard has just won a major court ruling in the Itanium case against the hardware giant.

Here are the key points in the ruling handed down by the Superior Court of California on Wednesday afternoon:

  • The Settlement and Release Agreement entered into by HP and Oracle in September 2010 required Oracle to continue to offer its product suite on HP’s Itanium-based server platforms and didn't permit Oracle to decide on its own whether to do so or not.
  • That agreement also pertains to any Oracle software products that were offered on HP’s Itanium-based servers at the time the deal was signed.
  • Thus, Oracle was required to continue to offer its products on HP’s Itanium-based server platforms until HP discontinued sales of Itanium-based servers.
  • Oracle was required to port its products to HP’s Itanium-based servers without charge to HP.

For reference, HP filed a civil lawsuit against Oracle in June 2011 to support the Itanium platform after Oracle said the previous March that it would stop supporting HP's Itanium platform because Intel planned to shut it down in the long run.

HP and Intel both had denied Oracle's claims.

HP has already issued the following statement:

Today’s proposed ruling is a tremendous win for HP and its customers. The Superior Court of the State of California, Santa Clara County, has confirmed the existence of a contract between HP and Oracle that requires Oracle to port its software products to HP’s Itanium-based servers. We expect Oracle to comply with its contractual obligation as ordered by the Court.

Much like the patent and copyright infringement battle with Google this past spring, Oracle is already planning to appeal the verdict. Oracle has also responded with a statement of its own:

Last March, Oracle made an engineering decision to stop future software development on the Itanium chip. We made the decision as we became convinced that Itanium was approaching its end of life and we explained our rationale to customers here: www.oracle.com/itanium. Nothing in the Court's preliminary opinion changes that fact. We know that Oracle did not give up its fundamental right to make platform engineering decisions in the 27 words HP cites from the settlement of an unrelated employment agreement. HP’s argument turns the concept of Silicon Valley ‘partnerships’ upside down. We plan to appeal the Court's ruling while fully litigating our cross claims that HP misled both its partners and customers.

Check out the full decision from Judge James P. Kleinberg:

HP v. Oracle: Proposed Statement of Decision

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