SAP loses bid to keep 'highly confidential' info from Oracle

Secret information related to a lawsuit Oracle filed against SAP and its subsidiary TomorrowNow.

A court-appointed official in California has shot down SAP's request that Oracle's general counsel be denied access to "highly confidential" information related to Oracle's ongoing lawsuit against SAP and its subsidiary, TomorrowNow, rejecting SAP's contention that sensitive and strategic information could find its way into the hands of Oracle's top executives.

Oracle filed suit against SAP and TomorrowNow last year, charging that TomorrowNow employees illegally downloaded data from an Oracle support Web site and used it to court Oracle's customers. TomorrowNow provides third-party support for Oracle's PeopleSoft, Siebel, and J.D. Edwards software products.

SAP has said TomorrowNow was authorized to download materials from Oracle's Web site on behalf of TomorrowNow's customers, but also acknowledged that "some inappropriate downloads of fixes and support documents occurred at TomorrowNow." But this information remained in TomorrowNow's systems, and SAP did not gain access to Oracle's intellectual property, according to SAP.

SAP's failed request regarding information sought by Oracle's general counsel, Dorian Daley, is tied to ongoing evidence-discovery proceedings in the case.

Daley had been designated, in a stipulated protective order dated June 6, 2007, as an in-house counsel in Oracle's legal department who could view "highly confidential information" for "attorney's eyes only," according to an April 4 filing in a California US district court.

But Daley was subsequently promoted to general counsel, senior vice president and corporate secretary, the filing states.

"Defendants are concerned that by virtue of her new positions the Highly Confidential Information to which she has access might be available to the top levels of Oracle's management," it reads.

Data classified as "highly confidential" includes "trade secrets, current and future business plans, and strategies which would be likely to cause competitive or business injury," according to the filing.

But the special discovery master appointed to the case, Hon. Charles A. Legge (Ret.), denied SAP's request. Daley had dealt with highly confidential information during other litigation, and "there has never been any concern about her disclosing, even inadvertently, any privileged information," the filing states.

In addition, Oracle's chief financial officer, Safra Catz, submitted a declaration that "describes in some detail what Ms. Daley's new responsibilities are, and that her work will not interface with the company's management regarding executive decision making," according to the filing.

Daley's role at Oracle is primarily managing the legal department and serving as the "senior decision maker" regarding litigation, and she will "not be called upon to advise the board of directors or management on business or competitive matters," it adds at another point.

SAP did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. An Oracle spokeswoman said the company would have no comment.

The next case-management conference in the suit is scheduled for April 24.

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