SAP fails to overturn $345M patent verdict

Versata Software walks away with $345 million after SAP fails to overturn a jury verdict that was first ruled on in 2007, and again in 2009.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

A U.S. federal court has rejected SAP's bid to overturn a patent infringement judgement against it, six years after it first went to trial.

Versata Software, a firm which developers a business rules platform, brought the suit against SAP in 2007 allegedly that the Germany-based firm developed software reproduced its Pricer software it had created earlier, and patented to that effect. 

IBM, HP and Motorola were big users of the Pricer software during the late 1990s, according to the court papers.

The firm claimed that SAP developed a similar product to replicate the software module, thus discouraging third-party additions from plugging into the business platform, and therefore infringed upon Versata's patents.

Following the 2007 case, two years later SAP appealed the court to throw out a $139 million damages claim by Versata. SAP successfully petitioned for a retrial, but the second jury found greater damages than before, and awarded Versata $260 million in damages, plus another $85 million in patent royalty payments.

A permanent injunction was also issued preventing SAP from selling its patent-infringing software. It wasn't even allowed to collect fees from customers for maintaining the infringing software it first sold.

But the damages remain, despite the small win for SAP in having the concrete permanent injunction shoes removed from its feet [PDF].

Judge. Charles Everingham, who first presided over the trial, first ordered SAP to stop selling the feature in its business software. But thanks to its appeal to the federal court, SAP can now offer maintenance and support for the software.

"This court carefully considered the remainder of SAP's arguments on infringement and finds no reversible error," the court said in its final ruling, ending the case. 

While Versata claimed it had "tremendous sales success until precisely the point in time that SAP entered the market with the patented product," SAP argued that Pricer wasn't sold to anyone after 2001, therefore it shouldn't have to pay damages for lost profits. 

SAP told Bloomberg that its lawyers were reviewing the courts ruling, but declined to comment further.

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