Oracle’s Ellison challenges former SAP head Apotheker to court showdown


Oracle’s Ellison challenges former SAP head Apotheker to court showdown

Warwick Ashford

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison has challenged former SAP chief executive Leo Apotheker to testify in court over an IP theft suit brought by Oracle against SAP.

Ellison has issued a statement claiming that Apotheker, now HP chief executive and board chairman, knew about SAP's theft of Oracle's intellectual property while it was taking place.

The suit, filed in 2007, alleged that SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow infringed Oracle copyrights.

Oracle alleged that SAP had stolen proprietary, copyrighted software products and other confidential materials, as well as gaining repeated and unauthorised access to Oracle's proprietary, password-protected customer support website.

In August, SAP proposed a settlement, but disputed Oracle's claim that it had suffered over $1bn in damages.

Ellison's stance on the Oracle-SAP lawsuit may be influenced by the recent executive shuffle that brought Apotheker to HP, according to US reports.

Ellison hired Mark Hurd as co-president of Oracle after he was forced to resign as HP CEO.

HP then sued Oracle, claiming Hurd would take unfair advantage of his knowledge of the company, a suit that was settled when Hurd gave up some HP of his compensation.

Soon afterwards, HP appointed Apotheker as Hurd's replacement and named Ray Lane, a former president and COO of Oracle who worked directly for Ellison, as its chairman.

Lane has defended Apotheker, saying Oracle has offered no evidence against him, but Ellison said that is what Oracle is planning to do in the coming court case.

"I don't think Ray Lane wants to risk Leo Apotheker testifying under oath as to why he allowed the theft of Oracle's property to continue for eight months after he was made sole CEO of SAP," Ellison's statement said.

The Oracle-SAP case is scheduled to go to court on 1 November, the same day that Apotheker officially takes up his post at HP.

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