Last week, a U.S. District Court judge laid out the ground rules for Oracle’s lawsuit against SAP over the alleged theft of Oracle’s intellectual property by SAP’s TomorrowNow division. Those rules are sure to annoy both companies, as neither of them got everything that they wanted from Judge Jenkins.
If I were to pick one company that is more annoyed at Jenkins’ decisions, I would have to pick Oracle. Earlier this year, the software giant told the court that it needed at least 80 depositions and an 18-month discovery period before the trial could start. That would have put the trial clear out into September 2009. In response, SAP argued for only 20 depositions and a trial that would begin as early as September 30, 2008. Jenkins sided with SAP on the number of depositions by limiting them to 20 per side. As for the trial date, he split the difference between the two companies by setting it at February 9, 2009.
As I stated in an earlier article about the legal fracas, Oracle wants this lawsuit to last as long as possible and make the discovery process as extensive as possible. By limiting discovery and setting an earlier trial date, Jenkins has taken some of the wind out of Oracle’s sails. However, the judge has still given Oracle considerable time to build its case against its archrival. That has to annoy SAP, as it was pushing for a speedy trial and perhaps even a settlement out of court.
In short, neither company will be happy with Jenkins’ ruling. However, I bet that both sides will grudgingly accept it and turn their attention back to fighting each other instead of the courts. After all, they hate each other much more than the referee who is overseeing their legal slugfest.