Oracle accuses SAP of Web espionage

Oracle accuses SAP of Web espionage

Oracle has filed a lawsuit against ERP rival SAP that accuses the German software firm of hacking into its customer support systems and stealing its protected software.

The lawsuit, filed in the US Federal District Court for Northern California, names SAP and its subsidiary TomorrowNow as defendants and accuses them of "corporate theft on a grand scale".

Oracle has accused the German company of gaining repeated and unauthorised access to its password-protected customer support Web site. This allowed SAP to copy thousands of Oracle software products and other confidential materials onto its own servers and compile an illegal library of copyrighted software code, the lawsuit says.

The California firm alleges this "storehouse" of stolen intellectual property enables SAP to offer cut rate support services to its customers in an attempt to "lure them to SAP's applications software platform and away from Oracle's".

Oracle says that in late November it noticed an unusually heavy volume of download activity on its password-protected customer support and maintenance site for PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers.

The lawsuit claims that SAP employees used the log-ins of Oracle customers with expired or soon-to-expire support rights to download thousands of individual software and support materials.

"The downloads spanned every library in the Customer Connection support Website. For example, using one customer's credentials, SAP suddenly downloaded an average of over 1800 items per day for four days straight (compared to that customer's normal downloads averaging 20 per month)," says the lawsuit.

Oracle claims the theft did not originate from any actual customer location, but from an IP address in Texas, which it says is one of SAP's branch offices and home of the SAP TN unit.

SAP has not yet made any comment on the legal action.

Read Oracle's lawsuit here:

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