Oracle's Ellison tried to spin the jury over SAP, judge declares

Oracle is fuming after a federal judge overturned its $1.3 billion judgement against SAP because it tried to spin the jury away from the facts.

SAP had admitted liability for illegal downloads of Oracle software and support materials performed by a former subsidiary, TomorrowNow.

But the judge – Phyllis Hamilton – said that $1.3 billion was just funny money and Oracle had to accept a lower figure.

According to IT World, she approved SAP’s request that Oracle accept a lower award of $272 million, which would negate the need for a new trial.

Oracle had based its $1.3 billion damages claim on “hypothetical” costs that SAP would have had to pay to license the software legally.

Hamilton said that reasoning was “grossly” excessive and there is no way that Oracle lost that much money and basically it was just making it up as it went along.

Rather than giving the court evidence, Oracle just shoved a whole lot of executives in the stand who told the court what they would have demanded in a fictional negotiation. Oracle also gave a speculative opinion of its damages expert, which was based on little more than guesses.

So the verdict grossly exceeded the actual harm to Oracle in the form of lost customers, which was quantified by Oracle’s expert at $408.7 million, and alternatively at $272 million, and by SAP’s expert at $28 million, she said.

Oracle was entitled to receive compensation from SAP, given that it has already admitted liability, but the amount of damages should be in the form of lost profits or infringer’s profits, Hamilton wrote.

Oracle has said that it will appeal saying that there was voluminous evidence regarding the massive scope of the theft, clear involvement of SAP management in the misconduct and the tremendous value of the IP stolen. We believe the jury got it right and we intend to pursue the full measure of damages that we believe are owed to Oracle,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

Of course SAP is happy.