Rimini Street downplays impact of adverse ruling in Oracle lawsuit

The third-party support provider says it will reserve its right to appeal

Rimini Street has put on a brave face following a federal judge's determination that it stole Oracle's intellectual property in the course of providing software support to its customers.

"While we respectfully disagree with the Court's rulings today and reserve the right to appeal, the rulings relate to Oracle software no longer in use at Rimini Street and therefore do not cause interruptions to service for any client or any product line," Rimini Street said in a statement.

Judge Larry Hicks found that Rimini Street violated copyrights on Oracle's database software in a ruling filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. The ruling followed one Hicks made earlier this year in the case, when he found Rimini had violated copyrights on Oracle's PeopleSoft application.

The ruling this week concerned "approximately 200 copies of Oracle Database for Windows that Rimini Street previously used on its servers with hosted client test/development environments," Rimini Street said. "The Court ruled that Rimini Street was not properly licensed for the software, which retails for around $10,000 USD per copy, without taking into account quantity discounts."

Hicks also tossed out a number of Rimini Street's counterclaims and affirmative defenses in Thursday's ruling.

Rimini Street is reserving its right to appeal Hicks' rulings and "will continue to vigorously defend the lawsuit and attempt to reach a fair resolution," according to a statement.

In a letter to customers, Rimini Street said the ruling will help "narrow the issues that eventually need to be decided by a jury."

Rimini Street offers support for SAP and Oracle software customers at a 50 percent discount compared to what they pay their vendor. While Rimini's customers forego the continual upgrades provided by vendor support, they tend to have stable environments and little desire to upgrade.

Rimini CEO Seth Ravin is a co-founder of TomorrowNow, the former SAP subsidiary that offered similar services to Oracle customers. Oracle sued SAP in 2007 for copyright infringement over TomorrowNow's business practices, and won a large judgment after SAP admitted liability. However, that matter is not yet concluded.

Oracle then sued Rimini Street in 2010, saying Ravin had re-created TomorrowNow's "corrupt business model."

The final outcome of Oracle's suit against Rimini is expected to help lay firm ground rules for how companies can offer third-party software support in a legal manner.

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

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