Oracle Lawsuit Against SAP Now In The Hands Of A Jury

It's now up to a jury to decide whether SAP owes millions or billions of dollars in damages in Oracle's lawsuit charging SAP with stealing software and copyrighted material from Oracle support Web sites.

Testimony in the trial, which began Nov. 1 in a U.S. court in Oakland, Calif., ended Monday with attorneys for both companies making their final pitches to the jury.

The trial also ended without testimony from former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker, now CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Oracle tried to subpoena Apotheker to testify in the case after he assumed the HP CEO post Nov. 1, even reportedly hiring private detectives to find him. While Apotheker was said to be out of the country during the trial, he spoke during HP's quarterly earnings call Monday and said he was at HP's Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters.

"The pretrial admissions and testimony over the last few weeks have exposed SAP's scheme to capitalize on the use of stolen intellectual property," said Dorian Daley, Oracle general counsel, in a statement issued late Monday. "While Oracle seeks damages to fairly compensate it for this massive theft, it is perhaps more important to expose the illegal conduct by a dominant player in the industry and to send a message that intellectual property rights must be respected."

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Lead Oracle attorney David Boise told the jury that "protection of intellectual property is at the heart of the software industry," according to a Reuters report.

NEXT: Damages Of $40 Million Or $4 Billion?

SAP has admitted liability in the case, acknowledging that employees from its now-defunct TomorrowNow service subsidiary downloaded software and support materials from Oracle Web sites.

But SAP has argued that the damages in the case are only in the tens of millions of dollars while Ellison has claimed damages as high as $4 billion. Determining the amount of the damages has been the focus of the three-week trial that has riveted Silicon Valley.

Monday SAP attorney Robert Mittelstaedt told the jury that Ellison pulled numbers "out of the air" to come up with the argument that SAP owes Oracle billions of dollars, according to the Reuters story. SAP has argued that the damages are more in the range of $40 million, although a Nov. 3 story in The New York Times said the application vendor agreed to pay $120 million to settle at least part of the suit.

A decision from the jury could come as early as next week, according to the Reuters story.