Just when things appear to die down a little bit, the Oracle-SAP lawsuit always seems to bubble back up. Today it was Oracle stirring the pot, as it tacked on copyright infringement and breach of contract complaints to its existing suit of SAP’s TommorrowNow division (SAP TN) in San Francisco federal District Court.
The amended complaint, which now checks in at 51 pages, makes particular note of some alleged similarities between Oracle’s and TomorrowNow’s Daylight Savings Time fixes. Quoting from the amended complaint:
In at least one instance, SAP TN has also, publicly displayed, distributed, and thereby profited from Oracle’s copyrighted Software and Support Materials. In December 2006, Oracle developed a knowledge solution related to the recent early change to Daylight Savings Time (the “DST Solution”). The DST Solution is a narrative document with specific instructions for how to conform certain Oracle software to the new Daylight Savings Time change. Oracle fielded more than a thousand service requests from its customers related to the Daylight Savings Time change, and its DST Solution helped resolve more than 750 of them.
SAP TN’s “solution” is substantially similar in total — and in large part appears to be copied identically from — Oracle’s DST Solution. SAP TN’s copied version even includes minor errors in the original DST Solution that Oracle later corrected. SAP TN’s version also substitutes an SAP TN logo in place of the original Oracle logo and copyright notice.
It’s no secret that these two enjoy tweaking each other whenever possible, and the language used throughout the complaint is a prime example. It’s worth going through and reading it for yourself, but here’s one example:
It was not clear how SAP TN could offer, as it did on its website and its other materials, “customized ongoing tax and regulatory updates,” “fixes for serious issues,” “full upgrade script support,” and, most remarkably, “30-minute response time, 24x7x365” on software programs for which it had no intellectual property rights. To compound the puzzle, SAP continued to offer this comprehensive support to hundreds of customers at the “cut rate” of 50 cents on the dollar, and purported to add full support for an entirely different product line – Siebel – with a wave of its hand. The economics, and the logic, simply did not add up.
Oracle has now solved this puzzle. To stave off the mounting competitive threat from Oracle and to do so without making the requisite investment, SAP unlawfully accessed, copied, and wrongfully used Oracle’s Software and Support Materials.
The gloves have been off for some time. Now it seems the combatants are reaching for the Louisville Slugger. We will, of course, continue to follow the lawsuit as it continues its long, slow boil towards a conclusion.