Friday, June 01, 2007

Oracle now charges SAP with copyright violation

Right on schedule, Oracle has amended its complaint against SAP and its third-party support unit, TomorrowNow (TN). (You can read the background on this case in my original post on the subject, and also developments prior to today in my post earlier this week.)

In its amended complaint, Oracle is adding copyright violation to its previous charges of theft of intellectual property. At the time of the original filing, Oracle had not registered the copyright for many of the support materials. It has since done so and is now suing for additional damages under U.S. copyright law.

In its amended filing, Oracle gives one interesting example of TN's copyright violations.
86. The DST Solution. 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.

87. Oracle traced downloads of the DST Solution to SAP TN’s IP address on January 8, 2007 and January 15, 2007. Oracle also noticed that SAP TN posted a “PeopleSoft Daylight Savings Time solution” on its website. 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.

88. Oracle has registered the downloaded version of its DST Solution that SAP TN copied and created derivative works from, and later distributed and publicly displayed, as well as a later version that SAP TN also downloaded shortly before Oracle filed its original Complaint, Registration Nos. TX 6-541-019 and TX 6-541-018. No customer is licensed to create derivative works from, distribute or publicly display Oracle’s Software and Support Materials, and neither is SAP.
If this case involved anyone other than SAP, it is likely that upon discovering this activity, Oracle would have notified the offending party to cease-and-desist.

As I noted previously, Oracle's earlier allegations of excessive and improper downloads might be explained by a TN consultant simply trying to work efficiently, using a single customer's user credentials to download materials for multiple customers.

The copyright infringement allegation, though, is harder to explain--essentially republishing an Oracle document, including errors, with an SAP logo. If true, TN has really handed Oracle a big club to use against SAP.

SAP denies any wrongdoing and promises to vigorously defend itself. It has until July 2 to respond.

Oracle has a special SAP lawsuit webpage with all related documents.

Related posts
Latest on the Oracle/SAP lawsuit
Oracle/SAP lawsuit: view from Rimini Street
SAP subject to criminal charges?
Oracle sues SAP and its TomorrowNow unit

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