Friday, July 13, 2007

Oracle Expands SAP Lawsuit [US]

Business software maker Oracle Corp. has added copyright infringement and breach of contract claims to a lawsuit alleging rival SAP AG trespassed on its computers to obtain secret product information so it would have a better chance to reel in new customers.

The documents filed June 1 in San Francisco federal court expands on a complaint that Oracle filed against Germany-based SAP in late March. The lawsuit charges SAP with "corporate theft on a grand scale" -- blunt language that underscores the increasingly cutthroat battle between the two rivals.

Redwood Shores-based Oracle alleges that SAP trampled on its intellectual property rights by heisting computer code and claiming it as its own.

In an example cited in the amended complaint, Oracle alleged that SAP broke into its computers in January to heist a software update addressing this year's change to an earlier start for Daylight Savings Time.

A SAP subsidiary that services Oracle software subsequently posted an identical solutions, Oracle alleged. SAP's recommended repairs even contained a few minor errors that Oracle later fixed, according to the complaint.

In a statement, SAP said it would respond to Oracle's allegation in its own court documents to be filed by July 2. "At that time, SAP will set the record straight," the statement said.

SAP has long been the market leader in business applications software, which helps companies, schools and government agencies to manage their payrolls, vendor relationships and various other administrative tasks.

Although it still makes more of its money from database software, Oracle has emerged as a more formidable threat in the business applications market by buying many of the industry's other players. Oracle has spent more than $25 billion since its shopping spree began in early 2005 with its acquisition of PeopleSoft Inc.

The SAP subsidiary that has become the focal point of Oracle's lawsuit was founded by several former PeopleSoft employees.

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