Oracle Wants $1.3 Billion Jury Award Increased If SAP Gets New Trial

Oracle will seek an increase in the $1.3 billion in damages SAP owes it in their ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit should the judge in the case grant SAP's motion for a new trial.

Oracle and SAP filed dueling motions in the case Wednesday, with SAP arguing that the $1.3 billion jury verdict is excessive and should be reduced – or that an entirely new trial should be held – and Oracle moving to get the damages increased in any new trial.

A hearing on the motions is scheduled for July 13 in the U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., where the three-week trial was held last fall. The move is the latest stage in the ongoing legal battle between Oracle and SAP that has dragged on since March 2007.

An SAP spokesman said Thursday that the company also is considering appealing the verdict to a higher court.

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On Nov. 23 a U.S. District Court jury in Oakland concluded that SAP, Oracle's chief rival in the applications business, owed Oracle $1.3 billion after the now-shuttered SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow illegally obtained Oracle software and support materials. The verdict came after a three-week trial that riveted Silicon Valley.

The case reached back to 2005 when SAP acquired TomorrowNow, which provided support services for Oracle applications. TomorrowNow, which SAP shut down in 2008, downloaded copyrighted software and documents from Oracle support Web sites. Oracle sued in 2007. Before the trial SAP admitted liability in the case, but has argued the damages to Oracle were relatively minor.

Next: Each Side Makes Its Legal Case

SAP's new motions state that Oracle is not entitled to the huge jury verdict because it was based on "hypothetical license fees as actual damages." The motion argues that the presented evidence, in fact, proved that Oracle did not lose license fees because of TomorrowNow's activities.

"The jury's grossly excessive verdict in large part is attributable to Oracle's continuous presentation of irrelevant and prejudicial evidence that served only to inflame the jury. A new trial or remittitur is necessary to redress the resulting infairness," SAP argues, according to a copy of the motion posted on a Web site SAP operates about the case. "Remittitur" is a ruling by a judge lowering the amount of damages granted by a jury in a civil case.

SAP argues that the damages should be $28 million or "no more than $408.7 million." SAP is asking the judge in the case to reduce the awarded damages or, barring that, order a new trial.

In its motion Oracle said it sees no need for a new trial, according to a copy of the document obtained by CRN. But should the judge grant SAP's motion for a new trial, Oracle argues that evidence about the impact TomorrowNow's activities had on potential up-sell and cross-sell sales for Oracle were "erroneously excluded" from last fall's trial and should be presented at a new trial.

Without that evidence the $1.3 billion verdict "fell toward the bottom of the range of reasonable license amounts" Oracle sought in the case, the motion stated. In the new motion Oracle argues that the jury could have awarded as much as $500 million more in damages had the up-sell/cross-sell evidence been admitted.

Before the trial Oracle executives said the company was seeking damages in the range of $2.3 billion. But when Oracle CEO Larry Ellison testified, he said TomorrowNow's activities may have cost Oracle as much as $4 billion.