Judge Nixes Oracle’s $1.3 Billion Award Against SAP

Oracle Corp. buildingA federal judge threw out a $1.3 billion jury verdict awarded to Oracle Corp. in a copyright infringement lawsuit against SAP AG.  The win for German business software firm SAP reduces the largest copyright infringement award ever to $272 million, and if Oracle rejects the decision SAP is entitled to a new trial.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton issued the order finding the verdict “grossly excessive.”

SAP argued that Oracle was not entitled to actual damages for infringement in the form of a hypothetical license because Oracle did not show that it would have licensed the copyrighted works to others.  In addition, SAP contended that Oracle did not prove the value of such a license, rendering the jury’s award speculative.

SAP had argued initially that the value should have been no more than $408.7 million, according to Hamilton’s opinion.  She gave Oracle until September 30 to accept or reject the reduced award of $272 million.

 Oracle’s lawyer had invited jurors to pick a number between $1.66 billion and $3 billion for damages.

Jurors sided with Oracle in a November verdict stemming from the Redwood City, Calif.-based company’s accusation that SAP’s TomorrowNow software-maintenance unit made copies of Oracle’s software to evade licensing fees and steal Oracle customers.

There was no licensing agreement between the two companies for the software. 

 Case:  Oracle Corp. v. SAP AG, No. C07-1658PJH

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