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Oracle starts court battle for $2.3bn in damages from SAP

Oracle's court battle with SAP is set to begin today in Oakland, California as it seeks at least $2.3bn in damages for unauthorised access of its systems by an SAP subsidiary.

In a suit filed in 2007, Oracle alleges that SAP's now-defunct support services division TomorrowNow illegally copied software code from Oracle systems needed to support customers without buying licences to access it.

SAP acknowledges TomorrowNow made "inappropriate" downloads of Oracle materials in 2007, but says Oracle has exaggerated the impact on its business.

In an attempt to shorten the court case, SAP has accepted financial responsibility for damages, but it argues these run to tens of millions of dollars at the most.

SAP's move is expected to cut the duration of the trial down to two weeks by eliminating a re-hash of what TomorrowNow did wrong, because the only matter left for a jury to decide is the extent of the damages.

Last week, Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison accused former SAP head Leo Apotheker of being aware of TomorrowNow's activities at the time they were taking place and hinted at a courtroom showdown.

The timing could be awkward for Apotheker as the opening of the trial coincides with the start of his new role as board member and chief executive of HP.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin today, and Oracle is expected to make its opening statement tomorrow, according to US reports.


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