SAP seeks to discard Oracle copyright verdict

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SAP seeks to discard Oracle copyright verdict

US$1.3bn verdict "cannot stand".

Oracle should be paid no more than US$408.7 million for copyright infringement carried out by a SAP AG subsidiary, the European software company argued in a court filing late on Wednesday.

A Northern California jury awarded Oracle US$1.3 billion last November over accusations that SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow wrongfully downloaded millions of Oracle's files.

At trial, SAP acknowledged wrongdoing but argued it should pay no more than US$40 million.

On Wednesday SAP said the US$1.3 billion verdict was in conflict with copyright law and founded on "sheer" speculation.

"It cannot stand," SAP attorneys wrote in a filing.

Oracle representatives were not immediately available for comment.

SAP urged US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton to cut the verdict to comport with a different damages methodology.

At trial, SAP's expert estimated damages under that formula at US$28 million, while Oracle's expert pegged them at US$408.7 million.

Alternatively, SAP urged Hamilton to order a new trial due to the "excessive" verdict.

The three-week trial, which captivated Silicon Valley, featured testimony from such top executives as Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison - whom SAP's lawyers accused of plucking damages numbers "out of the air" - and President Safra Catz.

SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott also took the stand and apologised to Oracle for the events surrounding TomorrowNow.

During the trial, Oracle linked former SAP chief and current Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker to the operations of TomorrowNow. But it did not appear to produce evidence to prove Apotheker knew of any theft.

A hearing on SAP's request to reduce the verdict is currently scheduled for July.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Oracle USA, Inc., et al. v. SAP AG, et al, 07-1658.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Hans Peters)

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