SAP to pay Oracle $1.3 billion in landmark decision

Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:57pm EST
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By Dan Levine

OAKLAND, California (Reuters) - SAP AG must pay Oracle Corp $1.3 billion for software theft in a jury verdict that could be the largest-ever for copyright infringement.

The decision, by a district court jury in Oakland California, drew a gasp from the courtroom and prompted hugs and handshakes among Oracle's legal team, which has pursued the case for years.

The damages dwarfed SAP's own estimate of the damages. Oracle's shares rose 1.5 percent in after-hours trade, while SAP's U.S.-listed stock slid 1.4 percent.

Europe's top software maker, which said it was disappointed by the verdict, could now try to get the dollar amount knocked down by the trial judge, or pursue an appeal.

"We are, of course, disappointed by this verdict and will pursue all available options, including post-trial motions and appeal if necessary," SAP said in a statement in response to the verdict.

SAP has acknowledged that its TomorrowNow subsidiary had wrongfully downloaded millions of Oracle's files. With the admission of liability, the issue before the jury was how much was owed in damages. SAP said no more $40 million, while Oracle sought at least $1.65 billion.

Attorneys for the top U.S. software company called the verdict the largest ever for a copyright infringement case.

While SAP could appeal, Oracle attorney David Boies said, that would raise the possibility of a retrial. "If I were SAP, and I'm not, but if I were SAP, I'm not sure I would want to have another trial," Boies said.   Continued...