Cases & Deals

SAP's $1.3 billion jury award vacated

Client(s) SAP AG

In November 2010, Jones Day defended SAP AG, SAP America, Inc. and TomorrowNow, Inc. in an Oakland federal trial that was limited to the amount of damages to be awarded on Oracle's copyright claims. Through post trial motions, Jones Day asked federal district judge Phyllis Hamilton to decide a crucial question of law regarding the hypothetical license theory of damages on which Oracle relied and the jury based its $1.3 billion verdict. Jones Day argued that the jury's award represented an unduly speculative, counterfactual and punitive award that wholly failed to measure Oracle's actual damages – which, in fact, were in the form of lost profits, not lost license fees. Judge Hamilton agreed and, at the conclusion of her 20 page opinion published on September 1, 2011, found that "the award of hypothetical license damages totaling $1.3 billion was contrary to the weight of the evidence, and was grossly excessive." The Court has given Oracle until September 30 to accept $272 million in actual damages for all of its copyright claims and if Oracle rejects that amount then a new trial will be ordered.

The cross-office, cross-practice Jones Day trial team was led by partners Bob Mittelstaedt (San Francisco) and Greg Lanier (Silicon Valley), and included Jones Day partners Scott Cowan (Houston), Jason McDonell (San Francisco), Jane Froyd (Silicon Valley) and Josh Fuchs (Houston) as well as Jones Day associates Elaine Wallace and Patrick Delahunty (San Francisco), Jaci Lee (Silicon Valley), Nicole Perry and Laurens Wilkes (Houston). Jones Day partner Greg Castanias (Washington) provided assistance with the post-trial motions. Significant contributions were also made by partners and associates in Jones Day's Brussels, Chicago, Frankfurt, London, Munich, and New York offices.

Oracle USA, Inc., et al. v. SAP AG, et al., Case No. 07-Cv-01658 Pjh (EDL) (N.D. Cal., Oakland Div.)