Wednesday, September 12, 2007, 9/12/2007 08:17:00 AM

Oracle v. SAP Trade Secrets Case Could Be Headed Towards Settlement

By Todd
CNNMoney.com is reporting that German software giant SAP AG (SAP) and rival Oracle Corp. (ORCL) have once again postponed a crucial meeting with the judge overseeing a lawsuit alleging SAP stole thousands of Oracle's trade secrets.

By pushing back their case-management conference for another two weeks, both sides are dropping broad hints that a possible settlement of the lawsuit is in the works. At the very least, the delay provides even more time to craft such a deal.

The case-management conference is now scheduled for Sept. 25. The official reason for the latest delay, according to court papers, was a scheduling conflict among one of the more than dozen attorneys involved in the case.

The meeting to take place on Tuesday had been rescheduled from last week.

A spokesman for SAP couldn't be reached Tuesday for comment, while an Oracle spokeswoman didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

According to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, SAP's Texas-based customer support unit known as TomorrowNow illegally downloaded thousands of Oracle software programs in late 2006 and early 2007.

"This storehouse of stolen Oracle intellectual property enables SAP to offer cut rate support services to customers that use Oracle software," Oracle alleges in the suit.

In comments made after the suit was filed, Henning Kagermann, SAP's chief executive, said "we regret very much" the incident occurred.

"Even a single inappropriate download is unacceptable from my perspective," he said.

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