SAP seeks to cut $1.3 bln Oracle verdict

Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:01am BST

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* Hearing on verdict scheduled for Wednesday

* SAP trying to reverse jury award in case with Oracle

By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO, July 13 (Reuters) - SAP AG (SAPG.DE) will try to convince a U.S. judge on Wednesday to slash or toss outright a $1.3 billion verdict it suffered at the hands of Oracle Corp ORCL.O.

A Northern California jury awarded the damages last November over accusations that SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow wrongfully downloaded millions of Oracle's files. [ID:nLDE6AN02A]

But at Wednesday's hearing in Oakland, California, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton will have her first chance to directly comment on the verdict. In court filings, Oracle argues that the verdict was amply supported by the evidence.

The three-week trial, which captivated Silicon Valley, featured testimony from such top executives as Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison -- whom SAP's lawyers accused of plucking damages numbers "out of the air" -- and President Safra Catz.

SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott also took the stand and apologized to Oracle for the events surrounding TomorrowNow.

During the trial, Oracle linked former SAP chief and current Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N) CEO Leo Apotheker to the operations of TomorrowNow. But it did not appear to produce evidence to prove Apotheker knew of any theft.

SAP acknowledged wrongdoing at trial but argued it should pay no more than $40 million. In its request to slash the verdict, SAP asked Hamilton to use a different damages methodology that would put the award between $28 million and $408.7 million.

Alternatively, SAP asked Hamilton to order a new trial.

Oracle supports the jury's award.

"The verdict is not, as SAP argues, 'speculative,' 'subjective,' or unfair in the least," Oracle wrote in a filing.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Oracle USA, Inc., et al. v. SAP AG, et al, 07-1658. (Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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