Oracle Judge Takes Hard Line on Corporate Secrets

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge began the process of separating sealed
from unsealed corporate information as part of the U.S.
Department of Justice (DoJ) antitrust
case against Oracle .

District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker sifted through the requests of more
than a dozen of Oracle’s customers and rivals who aided the DoJ’s suit to block Oracle from proceeding with
its $7.7 billion takeover bid for PeopleSoft . The 65 or
so documents under review contain detailed data on customers, competitive
bids on contracts, pricing details, budgets and product information.

Judge Walker called for the hearing in federal court here to close any
loose legal ends before rendering his decision. The judge is expected to
file his opinion sometime before the end of the month — perhaps early
September. Insiders suggest the hearing indicates that the judge is
preparing a draft of his opinion, which can only be based on publicly
available information.

“If the information appears to have no bearing on the court’s decision,
then I will not unseal it,” Judge Walker said. “If it is material to the
court’s decision and it is publicly sealed or redacted, I may overrule the
request [and third parties may lose]. But the document may still not see the
light of day.”

The judge wasted no time in his decision and overruled Bearing Point’s
objections to releasing information about its strategic partnership with
Microsoft.

The judge also opted to keep pricing information about consulting
firm Accenture unsealed, as well as particulars about a new relationship
between enterprise resource planning (ERP) leader SAP AG
and security firm ADP. The two companies recently launched a new program
that ADP’s lawyers want details kept unsealed. The documents discuss ADP’s
rollout schedule, as well as its competitive pricing contract with the
German-based rival of Oracle.

Oracle lead attorney Dan Wall clarified that his client has no intention of using the information.

“It is not the avoidance of embarrassment on some issue that brought us
to agree with these decisions,” Wall said. “Our belief is that the court
should present facts. The revelation would cause some disruption in the
market process. What we sought protection for is to get this case moving and
not stagnate with procedure. It is not about the fact that there is a
Microsoft document that outlines its selling strategies.”

As previously reported, Oracle’s lawyers are asking the court to submit
full five pieces of evidence pertaining to PeopleSoft’s pricing strategy.
Gary Reback, an attorney and litigation specialist hired by PeopleSoft,
told internetnews.com that Oracle’s motives are merely self-serving
and serves no other purpose.

“Oracle is just trying to make PeopleSoft information public for the sake
of harming PeopleSoft,” Reback said. “The documents that PeopleSoft is
trying to protect pertain to information that no one is relying on.”

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