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$1.3B Verdict Against SAP is Largest Copyright Award Ever

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on November 29, 2010 12:01 PM

An Oakland, California jury has awarded the largest ever copyright award in a suit between Oracle and SAP. The $1.3 billion verdict against SAP was just shy of the $1.7 billion Oracle experts asked for. The sizeable sum also represents the 23rd largest jury verdict of all time.

For an intellectual property case, the issue was fairly straightforward: Oracle sued SAP claiming SAP's U.S.-based "Tomorrownow" unit was illegally downloading their software in order to avoid paying licensing fees and steal customers from Oracle. To arrive at the largest copyright award ever, the jury looked at the scope, timing and duration of the illegal downloading.

"For more than three years, SAP stole thousands of copies of Oracle software and then resold that software and related services to Oracle's own customers. Right before the trial began, SAP admitted its guilt and liability; then, the trial made it clear that SAP's most senior executives were aware of the illegal activity from the very beginning," Bloomberg quotes Oracle president Safra Catz.

Although the verdict may seem like the end, the likelihood of SAP cutting a $1.3 billion check to Oracle is pretty unlikely.

In addition to appealing the award, SAP does not have those type of funds sitting around, according to Bloomberg. SAP did not deny liability. Rather SAP argued that the damages should be based on lost profits to Oracle -- a figure in the range of $40 million.

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