Oracle Expands Espionage Charges Against SAP

Oracle amended its lawsuit against SAP on Monday, saying SAP executive board members were warned that its TomorrowNow unit was engaged in corporate theft before SAP bought TomorrowNow.

Oracle's headquarters in California.
Oracle's headquarters in California.

Oracle sued the German software maker in March 2007, accusing its TomorrowNow software maintenance services business of illegally using customer log-ins to steal copyrighted materials from Oracle's Web site. Oracle said last month the damages it seeks from SAP could top $1 billion.

In an amended court filing that cited internal SAP documents, Oracle said four SAP board members, including current co-chief executive Henning Kagermann, received a confidential document on Jan. 7, 2005, that "made clear TomorrowNow did not operate legally."

It is the first time that Oracle has charged that top executives at rival SAP had knowledge of the corporate theft carried out by TomorrowNow—both before and after the company was acquired by SAP on Jan 19, 2005.

"SAP unlawfully accessed, copied and wrongfully used Oracle's enterprise software applications and software and support materials. It did so with the knowledge and consent of the SAP AG executive board of directors," Oracle said in the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

SAP spokesman Saswato Das said his company would respond to the allegations in a legal filing that is due by Sept. 11.

"Our filing is the most appropriate place to respond to Oracle's allegations," Das said. "Ultimately it is the court that will determine the facts and the remedies in this case and we prefer to conduct the discussion through the legal system."


He said that Kagermann was not immediately available for comment. SAP is scheduled to release quarterly results on Tuesday.

SAP said last week that it would shut down TomorrowNow after an unsuccessful bid to sell the company.

The German company had disclosed in July 2007 that employees of the Texas-based TomorrowNow had made "some inappropriate downloads" of materials from Oracle's website. SAP had said that employees of the parent company did not have access to Oracle's intellectual property.

But Redwood City, California-based Oracle, in its amended complaint which cited court depositions and internal SAP documents, charged that employees of TomorrowNow and its parent company accessed each other's computer systems and shared content via e-mail.

Oracle claimed that one of those systems, SAPnet, allowed employees of the parent to assist in "illegal development efforts" by TomorrowNow.

"At the time Oracle filed its lawsuit, SAP had before it a detailed road map for connecting virtually every piece of the SAP [TomorrowNow] network to the SAP AG network," Oracle said.

TomorrowNow provides technical support for customers using PeopleSoft and JD Edwards software. SAP bought the company in 2005 after Oracle bought PeopleSoft, which in turn had acquired JD Edwards, aiming to persuade PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers to switch over to SAP's software.

SAP, the world's biggest maker of software that helps companies manages business processes from accounting to manufacturing, said it is working directly with more than 225 TomorrowNow customers to shut down its operations by Oct. 31.