Judge sets aside $US139M verdict in SAP-Versata patent suit

SAP will get a new trial for damages in the case, which determined it had violated Versata patents

A federal judge has set aside the $US139 million judgment against SAP that a jury awarded Versata Software in August 2009, according to a ruling filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

In a motion filed in October 2009, SAP had argued that testimony given by Christopher Bakewell, an expert witness on damages for Versata, should have been stricken, on grounds he used an improper methodology.

"Mr. Bakewell improperly relied upon the entire market value of SAP's accused products ... in urging the jury to award a running royalty of $70 for every one of the 2,792,199 SAP user 'seats' included in his royalty base," the motion stated. "Once Mr. Bakewell's improper opinions are excluded, the largest damages award supported by the evidence at trial is $2.03 million

Judge Charles Everingham IV's ruling Thursday found that the court had "erred when it admitted Mr. Bakewell's testimony and his damages model. That error affected SAP's substantial rights."

The judge ordered a new trial on damages be held, with jury selection slated for April 29, according to the ruling.

"We're encouraged by this initial action and our attorneys are reviewing it as we speak," SAP spokesman Andy Kendzie said.

Versata could not immediately be reached for comment.

The company had alleged that SAP's Business Suite software and associated services violated a number of its patents. Formerly known as Trilogy Software, Versata sells products for business rules management, product configuration and other areas.

Meanwhile, SAP is still faced with the landmark $1.3 billion judgment a jury recently awarded Oracle in connection with its corporate-theft suit against the company. SAP has not ruled out an appeal of the award.

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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Chris Kanaracus

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