SAP loses Versata appeal

The maker of expensive business software, which no one quite knows what it does, has lost a patent infringement case against Versata Software.

A judge awarded Versata Software $345 million after it heard how it developed and sold software that companies use to determine the prices of their offerings based on customer size, geographic location and other factors.

According to Computerworld, Versata’s product was called Pricer, and the software was used by SAP customers as a “bolt-on” to its core ERP system.

SAP released its own pricing software and bundled it into its full enterprise software to kill Pricer.

Sales suffered and Versata sued SAP in 2007, alleging its pricing software infringed a number of its patents.

In August 2009, Versata won a $139 million but a judge later set that award aside and ordered a new trial to determine damages.

Before the second trial, SAP applied a software patch to its pricing software that was meant to eliminate “any basis for future infringement” on Versata’s patents.

However a jury said that SAP’s software still infringed Versata’s intellectual property, even with the patch, and it awarded Versata $345 million in May 2011.

SAP was also barred from continuing to sell the pricing functionality.

SAP appealed on the basis of that the injunction was too broad because it also prohibited SAP from selling additional seats and maintenance services to existing customers.

The appeals court agreed with SAP on this point and asked the trial court to modify the wording of the injunction slightly.   But really this made no difference to the payments.