Ellison: SAP's IP Theft Cost Oracle Up To $4 Billion


Oracle CEO Larry Ellison on Monday testified in court that the theft of Oracle intellectual property by a subsidiary of rival SAP cost his company as much as $4 billion, but later conceded that Oracle only lost about 350 customers in the case, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Ellison was in court as part of testimony aimed at determining Oracle's liability in the case of SAP's now shuttered TomorrowNow service subsidiary, which SAP admitted committed copyright infringement when it downloaded software and support materials from Oracle Web sites.

While on the stand in an Oakland, Calif. Federal courthouse, Ellison testified that he believed that TomorrowNow could have jeopardized from up to 30 percent of the customer base Oracle received with its 2005 acquisition of PeopleSoft, and up to 10 percent of the customer base it received when it acquired Seibel Systems , later that same year the San Jose Mercury News reported.

However, SAP's attorney, Tharan Lanier, challenged Ellison's estimates and suggested the company exaggerated its claims.

Under cross-examination by Lanier, Ellison conceded that only about 350 customers were lost as a result of TomorrowNow's actions, and that Oracle had no documents or e-mails showing that Ellison or any other Oracle executives worried about the possibility of losing higher numbers of customers to SAP, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

When asked the third time about such documents, Ellison responded, "I do not write those sorts of things down," as quoted by the San Jose Mercury News.