Oracle Amends, Adds Specifics To SAP Suit

law suit

The 80-plus-page filing includes new specificity about Oracle's claims that SAP support subsidiary TomorrowNow illegally downloaded proprietary Oracle information from its Web site using Oracle customer credentials. Oracle initially filed the suit in March and at that time reserved the right to amend.

TomorrowNow, which SAP purchased in 2005, specializes in supporting and maintaining Oracle applications at what it says is half the cost that Oracle itself charges.

Some of the specifics include a new claim that SAP operatives "publicly displayed, distributed and thereby profited from Oracle's copyrighted Software and Support Materials" in December 2006 when it downloaded and used a document about Oracle's Daylight Savings Time (DST) solution document.

Oracle charges that "SAP TN" posted what it claimed to be its own DST document, which appeared to be copied identically from Oracle's DST solution. Oracle alleges that SAP's version even included minor errors from the original Oracle document that Oracle had subsequently corrected.

Sponsored post

Oracle also outlined charges that TomorrowNow used credentials from Yazaki North America, an Oracle customer that stopped Oracle support, to download 11,000 "distinct" Oracle materials, including some 1,500 items for which Yazaki itself had no license.

SAP's e-mailed response was sanguine: "Oracle today filed its long-promised amended complaint in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, after repeated delays. Oracle now apparently has registered some copyrights, so it adds a copyright claim. And, it adds a breach of contract claim based on previously stated allegations. SAP plans to respond to the amended complaint by July 2, 2007, in accordance with the Court's schedule. At that time, SAP will set the record straight regarding Oracle's allegations. SAP is eager to vigorously defend this case."

Rob Wolfe, CEO of AvcomEast, a Vienna, Va.-based Oracle partner, said he has gotten no reaction or questions from customers about this suit, which pits the titans of enterprise applications against each other.

"I don't think that the market sees any material effect on their [or our] day-to-day operation with Oracle products," he noted.

Scott Jenkins, CEO of The EBS Group, another Oracle partner out of Lenexa, Kan., agreed. He keeps an eye on the suit, which he terms "jockeying for position," he said, but his customers seem unphased.

The original suit filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, charged SAP with committing "corporate theft on a grand scale" and alleged theft of Oracle customer support data, products and other proprietary support materials.

Oracle's complaint comes after the company spent years and tens of billions of dollars snapping up applications rivals, including PeopleSoft, along with J.D. Edwards and Siebel Systems. Those purchases alone made Oracle the second largest provider of business applications after SAP, Waldorf, Germany.

The tussle over support and maintenance money is anything but trivial. Oracle typically charges customers 22 to 23 percent of license cost annually for support, and counts on that revenue.

Several solution providers interviewed by CRN after the initial filing said many of the acts Oracle charged are considered standard operating procedure. They maintained that consultants who do system support and maintenance routinely access and use vendor data in supporting customers. The difference here is that the consultancy at issue is owned by Oracle's largest, most powerful competitor.

This report was updated Friday evening with an updated SAP statement.