Oracle filed a motion in federal court last week to compel third-party support provider Rimini Street to produce certain documents related to its business model and to allow Oracle to further question Rimini Street founder Seth Ravin.
Ravin is also one of the founders of TomorrowNow, the company at the center of the lawsuit between the two enterprise software giants. Oracle wants the information to determine whether Rimini Street replicated what it considers TomorrowNow's illegal business model. Oracle thinks that by proving this, it can recover damages from SAP for customers that left TomorrowNow for Rimini Street.
"If Rimini is simply a carbon copy of TomorrowNow's original infringing model, then Oracle would still have the customers who defected for Rimini but for the same infringing activity," the document states. "Oracle will have the information it needs to rebut SAP's argument and pursue profits attributable to those customers."
Rimini Street said it would respond to the motion in court at the appropriate time.
"Oracle is simply once again trying to find creative ways to obtain confidential, competitive data about Rimini Street's award-winning support program," Rimini Street's David Rowe said in a written statement. "This is just a discovery dispute in a case involving others."
Oracle claims that both before and after Oracle sued TomorrowNow, some customers left TomorrowNow and contracted with Rimini Street, according to court documents. Oracle wants to recover lost profits from those customers.
But SAP claims Oracle can't do so because Oracle never would have received payments from those customers even if TomorrowNow hadn't existed.
Oracle contends, however, that if Ravin simply replicated TomorrowNow's business model at Rimini Street, Oracle would still have those customers. Oracle claims that Ravin himself has said there are similarities between TomorrowNow's and Rimini Street's offerings.
It's yet another chapter in a lawsuit that analysts had speculated might be drawing close to a settlement after SAP shut down TomorrowNow in October. TomorrowNow, which SAP purchased in 2005, provided support for PeopleSoft, Siebel and JD Edwards applications at half the cost that Oracle charged.</ Oracle alleges that in a quest to win customers after Oracle's PeopleSoft acquisition, SAP, through TomorrowNow, conspired to hack into its support website not only to download support materials but also to steal and store its underlying applications.
Rimini Street provides support for Siebel, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and SAP products, promising to halve support costs charged by SAP and Oracle.
Ravin has been subpoenaed in the case but has so far refused to discuss Rimini Street, according to court documents..
Rimini Street, according to court documents, is concerned that Oracle and SAP might learn from Ravin information that could form the basis of a lawsuit against Rimini Street.
Oracle is requesting documents sufficient to show Rimini Street's business model, the automated tools that it used to download materials from Oracle customer support websites, and checklists used to track development, testing, documentation and packing of updates. It's also requesting two more hours of deposition time with Ravin.
"Third-party support is legal," the document states. "The way SAP and TomorrowNow provided it was not."