?‘Customers, free market choice’ winners in ERP support lawsuit

Rimini Street has declared that "customers and free market choice are the winners" a week after the third-party ERP support provider was ordered by a US court to pay Oracle $50 million in damages in a software maintenance case.

On October 13, a jury found that Rimini Street innocently ‘infringed’ on certain Oracle copyrights, rejecting the claim that the infringement was ‘wilful'. It also found that Oracle suffered no lost profits as a result of the infringement.

Oracle had initially sought $246 million damages in the civil case.

“With the trial behind us, and with additional clarity for the industry regarding permitted support processes, Rimini Street is moving forward as the leading global independent enterprise software support provider,” said Rimini Street CEO and chairman, Seth A. Ravin.

“We remain focused on providing excellent service to clients, expanding worldwide service capabilities, and innovating the independent support marketplace,” he said.

Oracle and Rimini Street had been embroiled in a lawsuit since 2010. Oracle initially claimed, among other things, that Rimini did not have the right to host Oracle software on behalf of the ERP giant’s customers.

Last February, US federal judge Larry Hicks ruled that Rimini Street infringed copyrights on Oracle’s PeopleSoft ERP system while providing support to customers.

In August 2014, he found that Rimini “engaged in theft of Oracle’s intellectual property by repeatedly making multiple copies of Oracle copyrighted enterprise software programs to support service clients".

Testimony and evidence provided by Oracle executives and witnesses during the trial confirmed that third-party support is lawful for Oracle licensees to purchase.

Oracle and Rimini Street will now engage in post-trial activities with either party able to file motions related to the jury’s findings. After the completion of post-trial activities, either party may file an appeal from the court’s final judgement.

Ravin told CIO earlier this year that software maintenance earns SAP and Oracle a 90 per cent gross margin and companies were overpaying for these services.

Rimini Street claims to sell maintenance services for Oracle and SAP software at a 50 per cent discount over what customers pay for annual maintenance to the vendors. The company earns about 55 per cent gross margin on its services.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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