SAP must pay Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) $1.3 billion for copyright infringement, a federal jury ruled today.
It took the eight-person jury just a day to reach the verdict after three weeks of testimony between the two companies. SAP (NYSE: SAP) didn't dispute that its TomorrowNow unit, which offered third-party support for Oracle applications, had illegally downloaded Oracle software and documents, but SAP said that any damages should be small. Oracle had argued for much larger damages.
SAP said it may appeal the ruling, but if it stands, it would be the largest ever in a software piracy case, and one of the largest ever in an intellectual property case.
The trial was also a showcase for the long-running rivalry between the two enterprise software giants, and Oracle even inserted its recent feud with HP (NYSE: HPQ) into the case, with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison unsuccessfully challenging new HP CEO — and former SAP CEO — Leo Apotheker to testify.
Stifel Nicolaus analyst Tom Roderick said that although the verdict is costly, "we believe that SAP will be able to comfortably repair the hole in its balance sheet over the next several quarters, and that this verdict will serve primarily as a PR hit to SAP more than anything else over the longer-term."
For more on the verdict, including insight from jurors, see SAP ordered to pay Oracle $1.3 billion in damages at the Mercury News.
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