Oracle Amends Complaint Against SAP

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-06-04 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The software giant adds copyright infringement and breach of contract accusations to the list of allegations against its rival, SAP.

Oracle is throwing more accusations at rival SAP, amending its complaint June 1 by adding claims of copyright infringement and breach of contract.

In its lengthy amendment filed to its complaint in U.S. District Court in San Francisco June 1, Oracle alleged that SAP—through its subsidiary TomorrowNow, which offers third-party support for Oracle applications—engaged in a "deliberate, systematic and illegal scheme to access, copy, use and distribute Oracle's copyrighted software products and related materials," in violation of federal and state law, according to a statement released by Oracle.

The bottom line: whereas Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., initially alleged that SAP committed corporate theft on a grand scale by downloading thousands of Oracle support documents, Oracle is now saying that SAP also hacked into Oracle's systems to steal confidential product documentation.

Oracle said in the amended suit that customers with access to Oracle's online support services—those with Oracle applications licenses—log into Oracle's Web site for support documentation. If they do not find what they need, they are prompted to click a button that prompts Oracle's support system to search for more relevant support documentation.

On the backend, Oracle tabulates the information to continuously upgrade its support offerings. It was during the backend tabulation that Oracle officials noticed what the company is referring to as improprieties.

"These click patterns showed that the user had employed an automated process to move with lightening speed through the entire Software and Support Materials on the Customer Connection Web site. And, apparently, to make a copy of them all," reads the amended complaint.

"Oracle also discovered that the downloaded materials included internal documents not available even to licensed customers and not available through normal, authorized use of Customer Connection."

Through its suit, Oracle seeks to stop SAP's activity—and apparently shut down TomorrowNow—and to recover damages related to the violations, according to a statement released by Oracle.

With more than 50 "John Doe" defendants listed in Oracle's first claim, filed in March, this first amendment is not likely the last. Oracle stated as much in its latest claim, promising a future amendment that would name names.

Click here to read more about Oracle's suit against SAP.

Naming a bunch of John Does is traditionally a way to place hold for culpable defendants, said Robert Christopher, a litigator with Coder Brothers in Palo Alto, Calif. "What you are obligated to do when you file a lawsuit is identify all the relevant defendants. … You don't always know who they will be," Christopher said.

"[We] don't quite know who they are, [but they could be] former customers who gave passwords to SAP to allow them access to Oracle, in violation to the [service] agreement."

SAP, of Waldorff, Germany, said in a release that it will make a statement July 2 regarding the latest allegations from Oracle.

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