A US appeals court has slashed the level of damages awarded to Oracle in its 2015 copyright court case against Rimini Street, cutting Oracle’s damages from $124 million to $74 million.
Rimini Street provides companies with cut-price support for Oracle’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) products. However, the database giant has repeatedly accused Rimini Street of stealing its copyrighted materials to run these services.
Rimini Street had already agreed to pay Oracle a fair market licensing fee of $35.6m awarded to Oracle “for innocently infringing certain of its software copyrights“, but appealed the balance of almost $90 million in damages.
The appeals panel… agreed that Rimini Street had copied much of Oracle’s materials and downloads to offer its own support services
On Monday, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the original ruling that the firm had violated Oracle’s copyright. However, the court amended the original ruling by rejecting claims that the firm violated two specific laws in California and Nevada.
The appeals panel, which consisted of three judges, agreed that Rimini Street had copied much of Oracle’s materials and downloads to offer its own support services.
But the judges disagreed that the company was in the wrong when it used automated downloaders, violating California’s Comprehensive Data Access and Fraud Act as well as Nevada’s Computer Crimes Law.
Because of this, the judges decided to rule out the damages covering these laws, and Rimini Street no longer has to cover all the legal fees either.
“Oracle obviously disapproved of the method – automated downloading – by which Rimini took Oracle’s proprietary information,” they said.
“But the key to the state statutes is whether Rimini was authorised in the first instance to take and use the information that it downloaded.”
Rimini Street, understandably, was delighted with the ruling. In a statement, the company said: “The Court of Appeals, while affirming the jury’s finding of ‘innocent’ copyright infringement for processes that Rimini Street claims are no longer in use since at least July 2014, stated that Rimini Street provided third – party support for Oracle’s enterprise software, in lawful competition with Oracle’s directed maintenance services.
“Rimini Street will continue to prosecute its pending claims against Oracle for, amongst other claims, what Rimini Street believes are illegal anti-competitive practices.”
Oracle, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction that the bulk of its complaints against Rimini Street had been upheld: “We are pleased that the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment on Rimini Street’s infringement of all 93 of Oracle’s copyrights in this case,” claimed Oracle in a statement.
It added: “Copyright infringement is at the core of Oracle’s dispute with Rimini, and Court of Appeals affirmed all of the trial court’s and the jury’s findings that Rimini blatantly violated copyright law.
“We look forward to the trial court issuing a permanent injunction against Rimini for its egregious and illegal conduct.”
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