Oracle’s $1.3 billion verdict against SAP overturned

Copyright infringement fines were “grossly excessive,” judge says

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton overturned Oracle Corp.'s $1.3 billion copyright infringement verdict against rivaling software company SAP AG. The November 2010 verdict, which was a record for copyright infringement case, was “grossly excessive,” according to Hamilton.

Hamilton’s ruling would reduce the damages award from $1.3 billion to $272 million. If Oracle rejects the decision, SAP will get a new trial.

In November 2010, a jury found that SAP’s TomorrowNow software-maintenance unit contained unlawful copies of Oracle’s software. Oracle alleged its rival was trying to steal customers and avoid licensing fees. The $1.3 billion verdict stemmed from the value of a hypothetical license that SAP would have needed in order to legally use Oracle’s software, rather than actual profits that Oracle lost from the infringement.

Judge Hamilton’s adjusted damages reflect records of Oracle’s losses in connection to SAP’s gains.

Oracle has until Sept. 30 to approve or reject Judge Hamilton’s decision.

Danielle Feinstein

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