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Jury orders SAP to pay Oracle $1.3 billion in damages

The award in the SAP lawsuit shows the jury sided with Oracle's arguments over the damages done by TomorrowNow.

After weeks of testimony and wildly different interpretations of what the damages should be in Oracle’s lawsuit against SAP, the jury has sided with Oracle, awarding the company a whopping $1.3 billion in damages.

SAP's expert witness had placed the appropriate damage award at $40 million, while Oracle's witness had argued for damages of $1.7 billion.

The jury’s decision, which came after a day of deliberation, is one of the largest damages ever awarded in an intellectual property case. 

While SAP said in a written statement yesterday that they were considering an appeal, Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, said he wasn’t sure SAP had  much of a choice, give that the software manufacturer had only set aside $160 million for the lawsuit.

“I think they have a fiduciary duty to appeal it,” Wang said.

Oracle sued SAP in 2007, claiming that SAP’s then third-party maintenance vendor TomorrowNow had engaged in copyright infringement and illegal downloading of Oracle’s software. SAP admitted to inappropriate downloads and insists it shut the company down as soon as it found out what TomorrowNow was doing. 

Ever since it began, the case has hinged not on SAP’s guilt -- which it has admitted to -- but what the software manufacturer should be expected to pay.

SAP said it is exploring all options but would be contesting the decision. No matter what it chooses, however, it’s hoping to avoid additional years of legal wrangling.

"We are, of course, disappointed by this verdict and will pursue all available options, including post-trial motions and appeal if necessary. This will unfortunately be a prolonged process, and we continue to hope that the matter can be resolved appropriately without more years of litigation. The mark of a leading company is the way it handles its mistakes. As stated in court, we regret the actions of TN, we have accepted liability, and have been willing to fairly compensate Oracle,” the statement read.

In its own statement, Oracle reiterated the claims of SAP’s guilt. 

"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,” the statement read. “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. As a result, a United States Federal Court has ordered SAP to pay Oracle $1.3 billion.”

For more information, please see our special report, Oracle vs. SAP lawsuit: The trial begins.  

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