by Thomas Wailgum

Oracle vs. SAP Trial: 8 Outrageous Defense Strategies

Oct 21, 2010
Enterprise Applications

What strategy should SAP's lawyers choose as the feud with Oracle hits the courtroom? Here are eight unconventional ideas.

What started with Oracle’s March 2007 lawsuit against SAP (and TomorrowNow) is about to finally come to a Northern California courtroom: The trial that never seemed like it actually would go to trial is set to commence on Nov. 1, 2010.

SAP certainly hoped this trial never would come to pass. In August, SAP basically surrendered to Oracle: again admitting to TomorrowNow’s mistakes; acknowledging the Oracle illegal downloads and copyright infringement by TN via Oracle servers; and stating that it was willing to pay for those errors.

But Oracle remains unsatisfied and resolute, and it appears the case is soon headed to trial. With that in mind, here are several famous oratory defenses that might help SAP during the trial.

A Few Good Men defense…

Oracle attorney David Boies [cross-examining SAP cofounder Hasso Plattner]: “I want the truth!”

Plattner: “You can’t handle ze truth!” Eric “Otter” Stratton (of Animal House fame) defense…

“The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with Oracle intellectual property; we did. But you can’t hold a whole company responsible for the behavior of a few sick, perverted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole vendor ecosystem? And if the whole vendor ecosystem is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of Fortune 500 institutions in general? I put it to you, Judge Hamilton! Isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you bad-mouth the United States of America! Gentlemen!”

The O.J. Simpson defense…

“If the server log doesn’t fit, then you must acquit.”

The President Bill Clinton defense…

“We did not have pretexual relations with that Oracle server.” If no one believes that, then SAP could try Clinton’s second (less famous) defense: “We did have a relationship with Oracle’s software that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and an institutional failure on our part for which we are solely and completely responsible.”

The Bill Gates (U.S. v. Microsoft) “absurdly evasive” defense…

“What do you mean by the term ‘we’?”

The Mandy (from Temptation Island) defense…

“It was just an ‘intimate moment’ with Oracle’s IP. It meant nothing.”

The Steve Slater (a.k.a. jettisoning JetBlue flight attendant) defense…

“Larry had been so rude to us that we simply couldn’t take it anymore.”

As to the “billions” in damages Oracle has been after, SAP’s attorneys might want to tap into the vintage legalese of Jackie Chiles, Kramer’s lawyer on Seinfeld:

“That’s totally inappropriate! It’s lewd, vesivius, salacious, outrageous!”

Thomas Wailgum covers Enterprise Software, Data Management and Personal Productivity Apps for Follow him on Twitter @twailgum. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline. E-mail Thomas at