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Oracle Seeks To Unseal HP-Hurd Settlement In Itanium Dispute
Joseph F. Kovar
Oracle wants to unseal information and documents related to the settlement agreement between HP and its former CEO Mark Hurd in order to show that HP's Itanium lawsuit against Oracle has no grounds.
Oracle on Wednesday filed a request with the Superior Court of California in Santa Clara, asking the judge to reject HP's requests to seal certain documents and preserve the redacted versions of other documents.
Redacted documents are documents in which certain passages are covered to prevent their being read while making the rest of the document available without editing.
While both HP and Oracle declined to discuss the actual content of the sealed documents and redacted passages, Oracle wrote in its Wednesday filing, "The immediate problem is that HP is alleging these 'contractual commitments' and then moving to seal the complaint that specifically discusses and quotes the actual Hurd settlement agreement."
The "Hurd agreement" refers to a confidential agreement signed in September between HP and Hurd under which HP dropped the lawsuit it filed against Hurd earlier that month after he joined Oracle as its new co-president, while Hurd gave up the roughly $30 million in stock options he received in August in his HP severance package.
The current legal battle started with a lawsuit HP filed on June 14 against Oracle, accusing its former partner of breaching agreements related to Oracle's development of software for HP's Itanium-based server line.
The lawsuit stems from the March decision by Oracle to end development of its software for the Itanium processor, which Oracle said was related to a decision by Intel to end development of the Itanium processor -- a development which HP and Intel both denied.
In addition to that lawsuit, HP on June 14 also filed a second, smaller lawsuit requesting the Court seal certain documents related to the case in order to preserve "confidential information." HP also requested that unredacted versions of the lawsuit and related filings also be sealed.
A copy of the filing requesting the sealing of the documents was provided to CRN by HP. Both filings of June 14 are heavily redacted.
Oracle, in its Wednesday filing, also redacted a limited amount of text. However, the filing points to the settlement agreement between HP and Hurd as the "confidential information," which HP seeks to seal.
HP claims it has a contract with Oracle guaranteeing that Oracle will develop new versions of all its software for the Itanium server line. Oracle wrote in the lawsuit that such a contract, if there were one, would be a "heavily negotiated, fully documented formal contract, with terms and conditions and payment obligations and all the other characteristics of real-world commercial agreements."
However, Oracle wrote, there is no such formal agreement. "And as for the written contract HP alleges, that is a mere two-sentence commitment Oracle made just nine months ago--not in the ordinary course of business but in the context of a lawsuit HP filed against its own former CEO, Mark Hurd--the substance of which the parties revealed in a press release announcing the end of that litigation."
NEXT: "Corporate Hug," Not Formal Contract
In that press release, which Oracle called the "corporate hug" between the HP and Oracle, both companies said, "HP and Oracle Corp. today reaffirmed their long-term strategic partnership and the resolution of litigation regarding Mark V. Hurd's employment at Oracle. . . . The agreement also reaffirms HP and Oracle's commitment to delivering the best products and solutions to their more than 140,000 shared customers," Oracle wrote in its Wednesday filing.
Hurd in August resigned his position at HP after an internal investigation over his undeclared close personal relationship with an actress hired several times to greet executives at HP functions. HP said that relationship resulted in a conflict of interest, failure to maintain accurate expense reports, and misuse of company assets.