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Oracle sues Rimini Street for intellectual property theft

By Chris Kanaracus
January 26, 2010 04:33 PM ET

IDG News Service - Oracle has filed a lawsuit against third-party maintenance provider Rimini Street and its CEO Seth Ravin, alleging the parties have been engaged in "massive theft of Oracle's software and related support materials through an illegal business model," according to documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

Rimini Street, which provides support for SAP and Oracle applications, promises that customers will save at least 50% off their vendor-provided support bills. Going to a third-party provider means customers no longer receive product upgrades, but Rimini Street caters to companies with stable legacy systems, and therefore has no desire for support at vendor prices, as well as ones that are not planning further software investments in the immediate future.

The company "typically logs on to Oracle's password protected Technical Support websites using a customer credential, then downloads Software and Support Materials in excess of the customer's authorization under its license agreement," according to Oracle's complaint.

Rimini Street uses automatic crawling tools to download Oracle materials "in intentional violation of Oracle's Technical Support website Terms of Use," the complaint states. The "massive downloading" has even caused Oracle's support databases to freeze up, the suit claims.

Ravin was the co-founder of TomorrowNow, a company and one-time SAP subsidiary that provided lower-cost support to Oracle customers. He left TomorrowNow after its sale to SAP in 2005. Oracle sued SAP in 2007, alleging that TomorrowNow workers had illegally downloaded materials from its support systems. That suit is still ongoing.

"The corrupt business model Ravin helped to create continues in full force at Rimini Street," the complaint states. "Oracle brings this lawsuit to stop it once and for all."

Rimini Street's alleged wrongdoing threatens to "cause irreparable harm to Oracle, its many employees, customers, shareholders and the industry at large," it adds.

The suit alleges copyright infringement, fraud, breach of contract, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and other malfeasance by Rimini Street, and calls for injunctions and assorted damages against the company.

The complaint also disparages Rimini's abilities.

"Rimini Street does not have the development capability to meet the support commitments it advertises at any price, much less the 50% discount it promotes. It certainly has not matched Oracle's investment in development resources, or even come close to it."

In an interview today, Ravin characterized Rimini Street as a pioneering firm battling to give customers choice, and said the company would mount a vigorous defense.

"If this is the way we have to go forward in opening the [support] market, we're prepared to battle for it," he said.

Vendors such as Oracle covet their maintenance revenue streams, which provide healthy profits in a time of slowing software license sales.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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