Lawyers for Oracle have for the first time publicly price tag of $1 billion (£500 million) or more -- on the damages they believe the enterprise software maker deserves in it s action against SAP and its TomorrowNow subsidiary.
Oracle took action against SAP and TomorrowNow last year, charging that TomorrowNow employees illegally downloaded data from an Oracle support Web site and used it to go after Oracle's customers. TomorrowNow provides third-party support for Oracle's PeopleSoft, Siebel and J.D. Edwards software products.
SAP has said TomorrowNow was authorised to download materials from Oracle's Web site on behalf of TomorrowNow's customers, but also acknowledged that "some inappropriate downloads of fixes and support documents occurred at TomorrowNow." But this information remained in TomorrowNow's systems, and SAP did not gain access to Oracle's intellectual property, according to SAP.
Oracle's reference to possible damages in the case is embedded in a long court document filed on 24 June and signed by SAP and Oracle attorneys. It is related to ongoing discovery proceedings in the case, which has a February 2010 trial date.
Recent activity in the case has seen Oracle and SAP battling over the scope and cost of discovery.
"Because Defendants have not provided Oracle with critical information relevant to liability and resulting damages, Oracle does not yet know its damages with precision ... But, even so, it appears Oracle's damages are, at a minimum, well into the several hundreds of millions of dollars and likely are at least a billion dollars," according to the document.
SAP's attorneys have rejected the claim.
"Oracle speculates wildly about the amount of its damages 'claim' in this discovery report, even though more than a year after this case was filed, Oracle still refuses to identify with any precision the nature or amount of its alleged harm or even to provide the theory on which its damages claim is based," according to the filing. "Oracle wants to substitute public posturing for the hard work of articulating and proving its damages claim (on which Oracle bears the burden of proof)."
In addition, SAP has already produced about 2.3 million pages of documents from 42 custodians, and under its proposed limit of 115 custodians, will turn over another 4 million records, according to the document.
That total does not include an "additional 6 terabytes of data already produced in native form and non-custodian based documents and information to be produced from central repositories and the like," it said. "If Defendants' alleged wrongdoing is as pervasive as Oracle claims, that surely is enough discovery to allow Oracle to present its case."
An Oracle spokeswoman said the company would have no additional comment.
Andy Kendzie, a spokesman for SAP, also called Oracle's damages claims speculative.
"What I would stress is that these are strictly allegations, they haven't been proved," he said. "Our intent is not to litigate this in the press. We have said all along this is going to be the court's decision, and we're going to abide by the courts."
A joint discovery conference for the case is scheduled for 1 July, according to the filing.