Oracle, SAP Agree to Time Extension in Trade Secrets Suit

It appears both sides in Oracle's contentious trade-secrets lawsuit against SAP would appreciate a little more breathing room.

Although there's little love lost between the bitter applications rivals, they have agreed to a legal stipulation extending the time for Oracle to file an amended complaint and for SAP to respond to that filing. The lawyers representing the companies signed the agreement on Tuesday.

Oracle fired the opening salvo against SAP on March 22, filing a surprise lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In the suit Oracle charged SAP, its SAP America division, its TomorrowNow subsidiary and 50 unnamed individuals Oracle claimed were SAP employees with violating U.S. fraud legislation and engaging in unfair competition and civil conspiracy.

Oracle's complaint alleged that one or more staff at TomorrowNow, SAP's third-party maintenance subsidiary, pretended to be Oracle customers and illegally hacked into Oracle's secure support Web site for users of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications. The employees then allegedly downloaded vast amounts of confidential Oracle software and support material.

Oracle further charged that SAP copied the Oracle content and used it to offer Oracle customers cut-rate support services with the ultimate aim of persuading them to dump Oracle applications in favor of SAP's alternative software.

So far, both sides appear at loggerheads, with Oracle not backing down and SAP saying it will defend itself aggressively. While Oracle executives have not commented publicly on the lawsuit, SAP CEO Henning Kagermann spoke out in April. "We have no intention to settle; why should we?" he said during SAP's first-quarter earnings call. "We don't think anything is wrong with our company."

Oracle had been set to file an amended complaint to its lawsuit between April 21 and May 18, but instead that date has now been put back to no later than June 1, according to Tuesday's court stipulation. Likewise, SAP was on track to respond to Oracle's amended complaint within 20 days of its appearance, the vendor now has until July 2 to file a response.

The case was originally assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Maxine M. Chesney in San Francisco, but she recused herself last week for reasons that were not disclosed. U.S. District Court Judge Martin J. Jenkins, also in San Francisco, is now presiding over the case.

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