SAP hit with $345M verdict in patent case

A federal jury has ordered SAP to pay Versata Software damages of $345 million in connection with a patent infringement lawsuit.

The jury's verdict was rendered on Friday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. It awarded Versata $260 million for lost profits and $85 million for "reasonable royalties," finding that SAP's software infringed on a patent held by Versata for pricing technology, according to a statement.

"Our patented technology enables Versata customers to deploy best-in-class solutions that competitors simply cannot match," Versata Chief Operating Officer Chris Smith said in a statement. "We cherish and defend the mutually successful, multi-decade relationships resulting from our innovation investment."

Versata had initially won a $139 million verdict in August 2009, but earlier this year a judge set the award aside and ordered a new trial to determine damages.

SAP had argued that testimony given by a Versata expert witness on damages should have been stricken because he used an improper methodology.

Judge Charles Everingham IV's ruling at the time found the court had erred when it admitted the testimony, and that the error "affected SAP's substantial rights."

But now SAP may be forced to pay substantially more money than the original verdict specified.

"While SAP is disappointed with today's verdict in the Eastern District of Texas, we respect the Court and its process," SAP said in an e-mailed statement Monday. "This is a complex case. SAP remains confident in the merits. We are reviewing today's judgment and considering all legal options, including appeal."

The Versata verdict comes about six months after a jury in California awarded Oracle $1.3 billion in connection with its corporate theft suit against SAP. That case centered on illegal downloads made by a former SAP subsidiary, TomorrowNow, which offered lower-cost support for Oracle software.

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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