Oracle Sues SAP, Alleges Massive Software Theft

Oracle sued SAP, on Thursday for "corporate theft on a grand scale," claiming its business software rival had stolen copyrighted software and other confidential materials.

Oracle, engaged in a fierce battle with SAP as it pushes into the market for software that helps companies automate business functions, accused the German company of gaining repeated and unauthorized access to its password-protected customer support Web site.

This allowed SAP to copy thousands of Oracle software products and other confidential materials onto its own servers to compile an illegal library of copyrighted software code, the lawsuit charged.

"This case is about corporate theft on a grand scale, committed by the largest German software company -- a conglomerate known as SAP," said the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

An SAP representative in Germany had no immediate comment.

Oracle has spent $20 billion buying software rivals over the past three years to challenge SAP, the leader in corporate applications that help automate everything from accounting to human resources to inventory management. Oracle is expanding into that market as its core database business matures.

Oracle shares were up about 1.5% at $18.44 in afternoon trade while SAP shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange were down about 0.5% at $46.13.