Both support biz and vendor claim victories in latest chapter in 13-year legal saga
In litigation dating back to the year the first iPad was released, Oracle and SAP support specialist Rimini Street is vowing to appeal against the latest court ruling that it infringed Big Red’s copyright, removed copyright notices, and made false statements about support practices.
Both sides have claimed partial victories following this week’s decision in the long-running dispute.
The legal spat between Rimini Street and Oracle goes back more than 13 years. The original litigation began in 2010 when Oracle sued Rimini for copyright infringement, winning a trial verdict in 2015 and ultimately $90 million in damages, fees and costs on that action. It also won a permanent injunction against copyright infringement.
In January last year, a court found Rimini Street in contempt of court and ordered it to pay $630,000 in sanctions, a trifling sum considering Big Red’s $40 billion-revenue status. At the time, Rimini Street told The Register it was considering options, including an appeal, while also pursuing a lawsuit brought against Oracle in 2014, including a claim that Oracle has engaged in illegal anticompetitive conduct.
This particular case, Rimini II, was filed in 2014 by the support biz itself, as a declaratory judgment [PDF] action – alleging that Rimini had made changes to its software support practices and asking the court to declare that it hadn’t infringed Oracle’s copyrights since July 31, 2014. Essentially this would be a way of resolving legal uncertainty for its investors and users. Oracle snapped back with counterclaims for copyright infringement, and alleged Rimini had breached business terms.
Nevada federal judge Miranda Du issued the permanent injunction at the beginning of this week [PDF] in Rimini II, requiring Rimini Street to end various support programs while further limiting others. The company also has to issue a 14-point press release stating, among other things, that it can’t tell customers that “Oracle’s CPUs provide little to no value to customers and are no longer relevant,” nor claim that “Rimini did not copy or share Oracle software between clients between February 2014 and January 2020.”
The court said the release must state that it is being published to “provide customers and prospective customers of Rimini Street with information about false and misleading statements that Rimini Street has made in its advertisements and marketing campaigns.” Among the false statements, the injunction stated, was the claim that “once an Oracle ERP platform is stable, there is no real need for additional patches from Oracle.”
The support biz, however, said in a statement that it “respectfully disagrees with several conclusions, findings, comments and rulings of the Court.” It had already filed notice to appeal by Tuesday this week. Rimini Street pointed out it had lodged successful appeals during earlier chapters in the long-running legal saga, successfully winning a $34 million refund from Oracle.
In a note to investors, Rimini Street also pointed out Oracle had withdrawn its claim for monetary relief. It said the Court had rejected Oracle’s argument that its license agreements prevent Rimini Street from documenting its own “know how” and code in technical specifications while the Court also held that Oracle’s software licenses stop customers from hiring a third party like Rimini Street to perform software updates or fixes.