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Former SAP exec Shai Agassi anticipated Oracle lawsuit

Former SAP exec Shai Agassi anticipated Oracle lawsuit

SAP says that and other Agassi statements should be blocked from Oracle's court presentation

Former SAP executive Shai Agassi knew that Oracle might end up suing SAP over activities conducted by TomorrowNow, a now-defunct subsidiary of the German software vendor, according to deposition excerpts filed Monday by SAP in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Oracle sued SAP in 2007, charging that its TomorrowNow subsidiary illegally downloaded Oracle software and support materials in order to provide lower-cost support for Oracle customers. The trial started Monday.

"It was one of the questions that we've asked from the first minute is, was this legal or not?" said Agassi, a former SAP executive board member who now runs the electric vehicle services company Better Place.

Oracle should not be allowed to play that and other Agassi deposition excerpts in court, since SAP has already agreed not to contest the issue of contributory infringement of Oracle's copyrighted materials, the filing states.

The court ruled last week that evidence on contributory infringement -- or whether SAP executives knew of the illegal activity -- would only be admissible "on the issue of damages or for context," SAP's filing states.

Oracle attorneys told the judge in court Monday that they should be allowed to submit testimony from SAP executives suggesting they knew TomorrowNow's business model was illegal.

Even though SAP has admitted to contributory infringement, the Oracle attorneys argued that the evidence shows SAP executives were willing to take a risk in buying TomorrowNow, which shows that the Oracle software the company downloaded illegally was valuable. This all plays into Oracle's damages claims and its efforts to show the jury the value of the software TomorrowNow stole.

James Niccolai of IDG News Service contributed to this story.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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