SAP Asks Judge to Dismiss Some Oracle Claims

The latest chapter in the legal saga surrounding Oracle’s claims of industrial espionage against SAP today saw the defendant calling for a dismissal of some of the claims filed by Oracle earlier this month.

[cob:Special_Report]In a motion filed today, SAP (NYSE: SAP) argued that many of Oracle’s (NASDAQ: ORCL) claims in its third amended complaint, which Oracle filed Oct. 8, do not meet legal requirements applicable in U.S. courts.

The move aims to undercut Oracle’s claims of copyright infringement. SAP said in its filing (available here in PDF format) that Oracle’s initial complaint from March 2007 did not include a copyright infringement claim. Instead, it first appeared only in Oracle’s initial amended complaint, which it filed three months later, and which SAP said included a copyright infringement claim “based on copyright registrations that [Oracle International Corp.] obtained after the filing of the initial complaint.”

Neither SAP nor Oracle responded to requests for comment by press time. The motion is scheduled to be heard in federal court in San Francisco on Nov. 19.

It’s the latest jab in what’s become a protracted fight between the two enterprise software titans. Oracle first filed suit against SAP over allegations of industrial espionage, claiming that SAP’s subsidiary TomorrowNow had illegally accessed Oracle’s files.

SAP previously announced its plans to close TomorrowNow by the end of this month, as a result of the lawsuit.

That move thus far has failed to help the German software giant bring a swift conclusion to the lawsuit, which is draining its coffers. In a joint discovery conference statement (available here in PDF format), SAP said it spends “millions of dollars each month” meeting its discovery obligations in the case.

SAP has already admitted that TomorrowNow, which offered third-party support for various Oracle applications, had inappropriately downloaded Oracle support materials. However, SAP co-CEO Henning Kagermann said SAP itself did not have access to those downloads and dismissed the majority of Oracle’s more than 150 complaints as “unfounded.”

In addition to attacking the timing of Oracle’s amended complaint, SAP today claimed that Oracle’s copyright infringement charges — filed on behalf of Oracle Corp., Oracle USA and Oracle International Corp. — aren’t allowable under the Copyright Act, which states that “only one plaintiff” can assert a copyright claim. SAP also said that Oracle changed the list of plaintiffs in its most recent complaint, removing Oracle Corp. and Oracle USA from the list.

SAP also said in its filing today that Oracle had delayed producing documents relating to ownership of the copyrights in question for a full year after it had requested them, finally producing them on July 22, 2008.

Oracle, meanwhile, had earlier fired back on similar charges. In the joint discovery statement, it blamed SAP itself for the delays because, according to the plaintiff, it had yet to make available about 10.5 terabytes of information critical to Oracle’s case.

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