Jury: SAP owes Oracle $1.3 billion for copyright infringement

A federal jury sent a strong message today, awarding Oracle $1.3 billion in damages in a copyright infringement case against SAP.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

A federal jury sent a strong message today, awarding Oracle $1.3 billion in damages in a copyright infringement case against SAP.

This screenshot from the verdict says it all.

In closing arguments, Oracle called for damages of $1.7 billion while SAP lawyers, arguing that actual damages were more realistic than potential damages, called for an award closer to $28 million.

In a statement, SAP said: (via Digital Daily blog)

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 TN, 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.

The trial was never about the copyright infringement itself. SAP accepted responsibility for the theft of software by TomorrowNow, a third party support provider acquired by SAP in 2005 but shut down in 2008. However, it argued that Oracle's request for more than $1 billion in damages was overinflated by a large margin and, at one point, offered $40 million to settle.

During its earnings report in last month, SAP said it had increased its provisions for the TomorrowNow case to $160 million, from $100 million.

According to Bloomberg, Oracle lawyer David Boies said:

The underlying theme of the case came down to damages. The facts of damages proven by the contemporaneous record of both companies was quite clear.

Bloomberg called the award the highest ever in a copyright infringement case, citing its own data. The largest away previously was $136 million awarded to the Recording Industry Association of America in a 2002 case against Media Group Inc. for copying and distributing music.

Here's the Oracle-SAP verdict document itself:

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