SAP withdraws appeal in German software resale dispute

SAP changed its terms and conditions, making an appeal unnecessary, the company said

SAP has withdrawn its appeal in a dispute over the resale of used SAP software in Germany, according to a filing with the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg.

The enterprise software corporation was appealing an October ruling by the Hamburg Regional Court that SAP could no longer require customers to get written permission before they resell SAP software. Two clauses in SAP's contractual terms and conditions requiring such permission were anti-competitive, the court ruled.

SAP appealed the case, but withdrew its appeal in early July, according to a court filing shared by SAP's opponent Susensoftware on Wednesday. Susensoftware is a German reseller of pre-owned SAP and Microsoft software licenses. It brought the case after SAP blocked a deal worth about €30,000 (US$41,000).

The decision to withdraw the appeal means that the Regional Court's verdict will stand, and SAP can no longer restrict the resale of its software in Germany based on those clauses, said Axel Susen, CEO of Susensoftware.

"This is a very important decision for us," he said, adding that he thinks that if you own something you should be able to sell it. But above all, it is a big benefit for customers because their rights became stronger, Susen said.

An SAP spokesman said the company decided to withdraw its appeal because it has changed the clauses in its terms and conditions. Why the clauses were altered and what exactly changed, he could not immediately say.

The court ordered SAP to pay the plaintiff's appeal costs of €100,000, according to the filing.

Meanwhile, Susen said he is not done with SAP yet. "This is the first win," he said, adding that he wants to change the business into a real open market.

He is planning to sue SAP over other contractual clauses within the next three months. "There are ten points in the terms and conditions that I feel are illegal and I will fight to change," he said. He would not say which points he will target, but added, "At the end of the day I'm sure the business will be very different."

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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