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Teradata Sues SAP Charging Trade Secret Misappropriation And Antitrust Violations

The data warehouse pioneer charges that through a joint venture between the two companies, SAP stole Teradata trade secrets and used them to develop its flagship HANA database.

Data analytics system developer Teradata has sued SAP charging the giant software developer with trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement and antitrust violations.

In a complaint filed Wednesday Teradata charges that SAP "lured Teradata into a purported joint venture in order to gain access to Teradata's valuable intellectual property" and used the technology to develop the SAP HANA database.

Teradata said it is seeking an injunction "barring SAP's illegal conduct," unspecified monetary damages and "all other legal and equitable relief available under law and which the court may deem proper," the company said in a statement.

[Related: The 2018 Big Data 100]

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against SAP SE, SAP America Inc. and SAP labs LLC.

SAP issued a statement saying: "SAP was surprised to learn of the complaint filed by Teradata earlier today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Although SAP generally does not comment on pending litigation, SAP may issue a statement, if appropriate, after it has had an opportunity to review the complaint."

Teradata, founded in 1979 and now based in San Diego, was a pioneer in the enterprise data analytics and data warehousing industry. The company's product portfolio today includes the Teradata Analytics Platform and Teradata Database software, IntelliCloud analytics cloud service, IntelliBase hardware, and a range of analytical applications.

The company was acquired by NCR Corp. in 1991 and then spun-off as a separate company in 2007.

SAP HANA is an in-memory relational database system that SAP launched in 2010. The database has since become the foundation for much of the company's software in recent years including the S/4HANA line of ERP applications, which debuted in 2015, and the C/4HANA line of CRM and front office applications that the company launched earlier this month at the Sapphire Now conference and show.

"As set forth in the complaint, Teradata is alleging that SAP has engaged in a decade-long campaign of anti-competitive behavior, to the detriment of the parties' customers and Teradata alike," Teradata said in the statement announcing the lawsuit.

"SAP lured Teradata into a purported joint venture in order to gain access to Teradata’s valuable intellectual property. SAP's purpose for the joint venture was to steal Teradata's trade secrets, developed over the course of four decades, and use them to quickly develop and introduce a competing though inferior product, SAP HANA," the Teradata statement said. "Upon release of SAP HANA, SAP promptly terminated the joint venture, and SAP is now attempting to coerce its customers into using HANA only, to the exclusion of Teradata."

In the statement, Teradata said the companies formed the joint venture in 2008 and then terminated it when it released the HANA product.

Teradata said SAP's use of its "powerful position in Enterprise Resource Planning applications" to "gain entrance to and quickly grab market share" in the enterprise data warehouse market constituted a "campaign of anticompetitive conduct directed at Teradata." The company said SAP has been "forcing its customers to adopt HANA in exchange for upgrading their ERP applications," a practice the company said cuts Teradata out of customer sales.

The statement also charged that SAP "has begun significantly restricting Teradata's ability to access customers' SAP-derived data."

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