Oracle set to begin SAP trial opening statements

* Companies are past opportunities to settle -McDermott

* At issue is amount of damages SAP will have to pay

By Jim Finkle

OAKLAND, Calif., Nov 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Opening statements were
set to begin on Tuesday morning in a long-awaited intellectual
property trial pitting Oracle Corp (ORCL.O: ) against Germany’s
SAP AG (SAPG.DE: ).

Larry Ellison, Oracle’s co-founder and CEO, has waited
2-1/2 years to bring SAP to court on accusations that SAP’s
TomorrowNow subsidiary stole its software and resold the
technology at bargain-basement prices — which SAP has
admitted.

It is not at issue whether SAP or now-defunct TomorrowNow
is at fault. SAP has admitted to wrongdoing, accepted liability
and shut down TomorrowNow. Rather, the two sides are fighting
over the damages SAP will have to pay. Those could range from
the tens of millions to billions of dollars.

Also at stake is the credibility of former SAP CEO and now
top Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N: ) executive Leo Apotheker. SAP says
Apotheker did not know of any wrongdoing initially and moved to
shut TomorrowNow after he found out.

Ellison, however, has stated he has evidence Apotheker was
complicit in SAP’s improper downloading of the software.

Speaking outside the packed courtroom on Tuesday, SAP
co-CEO Bill McDermott said the parties were past the
opportunity to settle.

“A lot of things have been said. Now it’s up to the jury to
decide,” McDermott said.

McDermott chatted briefly with Oracle President Safra Catz
outside the courtroom.

Attorneys for the two sides selected eight jurors on Monday
in U.S. District Court in Oakland.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of
California is Oracle USA, Inc., et al. v. SAP AG, et al,
07-1658.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle; Writing by Dan Levine, editing by
Matthew Lewis)

Oracle set to begin SAP trial opening statements