November 23, 2010 -- A jury has ordered SAP to pay Oracle Corporation $1.3 billion in damages following a three-week trial that found the German software provider guilty of illegally downloading software and customer documents. The verdict, delivered Tuesday evening, followed less than a day of jury deliberation.
According to the Associated Press, the award represents more than half of all the profit SAP generated last year. The AP reported that SAP had set aside only $160 million for anticipated damages and had already paid $120 million to Oracle lawyers.
In a statement released Tuesday evening from SAP's Walldorf Germany headquarters, an unnamed SAP representative said the company is "disappointed by this verdict and will pursue all available options, including post-trial motions and appeal if necessary."
SAP noted in its release that, "the mark of a leading company is the way it handles its mistakes." The company had admitted that it regretted the actions of a one-time subsidiary called TomorrowNow that had sought to sell services and convert former customers of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, enterprise software providers acquired by Oracle during the last decade.
Following the verdict, Oracle also released a statement attributed to president Safra Katz. "Right before the trial, SAP admitted its guilt and liability; then the trial made it clear that SAP's most senior executives wee aware of the illegal activity from the very beginning." The statement called the award the largest ever allowed for software piracy.
During the trial, Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison testified that he would have charged SAP $4 billion for the use of the copyrighted software and that his company would go out of business without copyright protection.
SAP acquired TomorrowNow in 2005 for a reported $10 million but closed the subsidiary after the downloads were disclosed.