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01.18.11

Oracle and SAP Get a Lesson About the Harms of Patents

Posted in Oracle, Patents at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Aggression as a business model

Tight fist

Summary: DrugLogic and 2FA have a case against Oracle and Versata still pressures SAP

OVER THE PAST couple of years we have argued that the world’s largest software companies benefit from and lobby for software patents. Oracle and SAP have been fighting a lot in court recently, over intellectual monopolies of course. But both companies share a pain, too. They are occasionally being targeted by intellectual monopolies of other companies and these monopolies are notably software patents.

“Oracle sued by drug-safety software vendor” says this recent report:

Oracle is being sued by drug-safety software vendor DrugLogic over alleged patent violations, according to a complaint filed Dec. 17 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

DrugLogic makes software for managing clinical drug trials as well as monitoring drugs after they go to market. The suit centers on competing products sold by Relsys and Phase Forward, health care software companies that were acquired by Oracle in March 2009 and April, respectively.

Speaking of drug safety, people are safest when patents on drug development are weakened or nullified (a month ago we learned that “Diagnostic Tests Can Be Patented, U.S. Court Rules”). India is ahead in that regard and this new text says “INDIA REJECTS SHAM PATENT APPLICATION FOR LIFESAVING HIV DRUG: Pharmaceuticals in India now free to help HIV patients worldwide”:

This weekend, India rejected an unmerited drug patent application, paving the way for access to lifesaving medication for HIV patients across the world. This groundbreaking victory for patients sets an important precedent to stop pharmaceutical companies from gaming the patent system, marking a new era of hope for millions of people living with HIV all over the world.

Getting back to Oracle, Courthouse News Service reveals that another rival “Demands $110 Million from Oracle”, alleging “conspiracy and corporate theft”:

Oracle Corp. and its wholly owned subsidiary Passlogix stole confidential information to deprive a competitor of royalties, force it into bankruptcy, and use the stolen intellectual property for their own profit, 2FA Technology says in a $110 million claim in Federal Court.

The only defendants in the 33-page complaint are Oracle and Passlogix. But 2FA says the “conspiracy and corporate theft” were led by Passlogix’s CEO Marc Boroditsky and its Chief Technology Office Marc Manza, “with active participation of Passlogix’s senior management team.”

This is reminiscent of Oracle’s case against SAP and vice versa. SAP meets some inconvenient software patents, which it lobbies for in Europe. There is a lawsuit against Microsoft and SAP [1, 2]. The Versata case is also still on:

A federal judge has ruled that software maker SAP AG is entitled to a new trial over what it owes Versata Software Inc. in a patent case, Bloomberg News reported Thursday.

Maybe they refer to this report. In any event, IDG covered this too:

The company had alleged that SAP’s Business Suite software and associated services violated a number of its patents. Formerly known as Trilogy Software, Versata sells products for business rules management, product configuration and other areas.

Meanwhile, SAP is still faced with the landmark $1.3 billion judgment a jury recently awarded Oracle in connection with its corporate-theft suit against the company. SAP has not ruled out an appeal of the award.

Why are Oracle and SAP asking for this whole patent trouble? They would be better off competing based on real merit.

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