Oracle sues third-party support provider Rimini Street for intellectual property theft

Oracle is suing Rimini Street, claiming the third-party support provider has engaged in “massive theft of Oracle's software."

It looks as if Oracle and Seth Ravin are gearing up for a rematch.

Oracle has filed suit against Rimini Street and Ravin, claiming that both parties are responsible for “massive theft of Oracle’s software and related support materials,” according to documents filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

According to court documents, Rimini Street “typically logs on to Oracle’s password-protected Technical Support websites using a customer credential, then downloads software and support materials in excess of the customer’s authorization under its license agreement.”

The company allegedly automated its massive downloading with “robots” or “crawlers,” which is an intentional violation of Oracle’s Technical Support website terms of use, Oracle claims. These intrusions have damaged Oracle’s support services by causing the databases that host the software and support materials to freeze, thereby disrupting their operation and impeding the availability of lawful downloads, according to the suit.

The suit goes on to accuse Rimini Street of an alleged copyright infringement, fraud, breach of contract and unfair competition and is calling for injunctions and assorted damages against the company.

Oracle adds insult to injury by mentioning in the complaint that Rimini Street doesn’t “have the development capability to meet the support commitments it advertises at any price, much less the 50% discount it promotes. It certainly has not matched Oracle’s investment in development resources or even come close to it.”

This is not the first time one of Ravin's businesses has run afoul of Oracle. In 2007, Oracle alleged that at TomorrowNow, a company Ravin co-founded and subsequently sold to SAP, employees had illegally downloaded materials from Oracle’s support systems. TomorrowNow offered lower-cost support to Oracle’s PeopleSoft, Siebel and J.D. Edwards products. In fact, the current lawsuit bears a striking resemblance to Oracle's suit against TomorrowNow in which it accused the company of "corporate theft on a grand scale." Oracle is seeking $1 billion in damages. A settlement conference in that case has been postponed from March until June 22.

In Monday’s filing, Oracle makes reference to the first suit, claiming that “the corrupt business model Ravin helped to create continues in full force at Rimini Street. Oracle brings this lawsuit to stop it once and for all.”

"It looks familiar," Ravin said of the latest lawsuit.

Oracle's filing does cite statements Ravin made after the TomorrowNow case went public, notably that accessing Oracle's support site was legal "as long you're authorized."

"They liked that quote," Ravin said. "It's unclear what they think in terms of authorization. Our customers have authorized products and have the right to designate an agent on their behalf, and they have authorized us."

Oracle claims Rimini Street’s wrongdoing threatens to “cause irreparable harm to Oracle, its many employees, customers, shareholders and the industry at large.”

Ravin wasted no time in firing back.

“We’ve always tried to avoid war, but when you look at the customers we're winning, the numbers have increased dramatically in the course of a terrible economic year,” he said. “At some point, the people we're coming up against, who want to keep that monopoly in place, are not going to go quietly into the night. We're here to vigorously respond to this.”

Asked whether the TomorrowNow suit, which is still in play, might have some impact on this latest suit, Ravin said that he and Rimini Street have “nothing to do” with the two-year old suit and so “it’s going to be interesting as they go parallel.”

Ravin did not appear to be surprised at the timing of the suit, saying that monopolies such as the one Oracle has in the maintenance market are never broken up without a turbulent process.

Rimini Street has not yet filed a response to the Oracle suit.

 

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