Oracle seeks delay in SAP trade-secrets trial

 

Scope altered four days out from trial.

Oracle said that SAP made a last-minute change in legal strategy to narrow the scope of a high-stakes trade secrets trial and Oracle asked a judge to delay the start of court proceedings.

Oracle, the software giant run by billionaire Larry Ellison, said in a court filing on Thursday that SAP had notified it via email that it will not contest a claim by Oracle of contributory infringement of intellectual property.

It also said that SAP has asked that each side be allowed 20 hours to present its case to the jury, down from a previously agreed upon 36 hours.

Oracle asked U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California, to delay the start of the trial to Nov. 4 from Nov. 1.

"This eleventh-hour tactic and request to dramatically alter the scope, duration and ground rules of a trial scheduled to commence in just four days, after years of preparation, potentially requires the parties to completely reconstitute their evidentiary presentations, opening statements and arguments," Oracle attorney Geoffrey Howard said in the filing.

Oracle contends that SAP employees illegally downloaded programs from an Oracle customer service website, then used that software to provide low-cost maintenance services on Oracle's software.

Because SAP has chosen not to contest Oracle's charges of intellectual property infringement, the jury's main task will be to determine how much SAP should pay in damages.

SAP has said it believes that it should pay "tens of millions of dollars" in damages, while Oracle has said that it deserves more than US$2 billion.

(Reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)


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