Oracle wants SAP to pay billions for plundered programs

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Attorneys for business software giant Oracle on Monday urged a jury to order German rival SAP to pay billions of dollars for looting its software libraries for competitive advantage.

Lawyers for SAP rejected the notion that the pilfering of programs was worthy of more than 40 million dollars, calling the reasoning for many times that amount "silliness" or "crazy."

Both companies made their final pitches to jurors in a high-stakes copyright infringement damages trial playing out in a federal court in the California city of Oakland.

The panel was sent to begin deliberations after instructions from Magistrate Phyllis Hamilton that included not discussing the case in the real world or in online locales including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace.

"I'm not proud of this and SAP is not proud of this," SAP attorney Robert Mittelstaedt said during closing arguments in which he ceded the copyright infringement by SAP and focused on minimizing any damage award.

"SAP is here to pay the damages now."

SAP was there, but its former chief executive Leo Apotheker avoided efforts by Oracle's trial team to serve him a subpoena that would have compelled him to testify at trial.

Apotheker was recently hired by US computer giant Hewlett-Packard to replace Mark Hurd as chief executive, but HP refused to help track the former SAP boss down for the trial.

"I think it was too bad," Oracle lawyer David Boies said of Apotheker winning the game of hide-and-seek with process servers.

Apotheker was on the SAP board which analyzed and unanimously approved a deal to buy US technology firm TomorrowNow, which recovered and copied massive amounts of Oracle software and confidential data by posing as clients.

SAP admitted to the copyright infringement in legal "stipulations" that cleared the way for the jury trial regarding how much should be paid to Oracle in damages.

Oracle says in court documents that SAP used a customized software tool dubbed "Titan" to plunder Oracle's website of patches, updates, fixes and other programs crafted for Oracle's paying customers.

© 2010 AFP

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