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Rimini Street fires back, countersues Oracle over third-party support

Rimini Street has filed a countersuit against Oracle, calling Oracle's practices "anticompetitive."

Rimini Street, a provider of third-party support for Oracle and SAP applications, today sued Oracle for anticompetitive practices in response to Oracle's own lawsuit, filed in January.

Rimini Street alleges that Oracle engaged in copyright misuse, defamation, disparagement, trade libel, and unfair competition under the California Business and Professions Code, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

In fact, Rimini Street is using some of the same aggressive language Oracle is famous for, claiming Oracle can't compete with Rimini Street fair and square.

"In response, Oracle has now turned to the courtroom instead of choosing to compete in the open and fair market," Rimini Street’s attorneys write in the countersuit.

Rimini Street responded to Oracle's lawsuit, claiming its business processes and procedures were entirely legal. Oracle has accused Rimini Street of "massive theft of Oracle’s software and related support materials.” Rimini Street provides maintenance and support for Oracle's Siebel, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications at roughly 50% of what Oracle charges its own customers for maintenance and support. Oracle claims Rimini Street's use of robots that download support materials from the Oracle website is a violation of the terms of use, as well as copyright infringement, fraud and breach of contract.

"Rimini Street is authorized by every one of its clients to perform work on their behalf, and, as a matter of process and procedure, has delivered Oracle Software and Support Materials only to clients who are entitled to them and only within the scope of that client's entitlement," the filing reads.

Oracle's core claim against Rimini Street is its contention that Rimini Street's downloading of support materials from the Oracle support website it theft. Rimini counters that it is authorized to access the materials on its clients' behalf.

"Far from Oracle's 'massive theft' allegation, Rimini Street has implemented extraordinary process and procedures to assure the proper use of Oracle's intellectual property," the filing says. "For example, Rimini Street performs a unique download of Oracle Software and Support Materials on behalf of each client that authorizes and requests such service. Rimini Street maintains downloaded materials only on behalf of the client for whom the download was performed. And, as a matter of process and procedure, each client is assigned a separate data 'silo' where Oracle Software and Support Materials for only that client are maintained. Rimini Street does not co-mingle the independent software downloads."

Other third-party vendors, like IBM, AT&T and Accenture, use the same software, Rimini Street contends, adding in its countersuit: "Oracle itself delivered the software to Rimini Street for hundreds of its customers."

This is not the first time Oracle has tangled with a third-party support provider. Oracle has also sued TomorrowNow and its parent company SAP with almost exactly the same claims.

However, Rimini Street, which was founded by Seth Ravin, a former executive at TomorrowNow, has been much more aggressive in its response to Oracle. SAP shut down its TomorrowNow business shortly after Oracle filed suit. And Ravin (who left TomorrowNow after it was purchased by SAP and before it was sued by Oracle) has chosen to countersue.

Ravin told the day Oracle filed its suit that he was prepared to fight 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."

In addition, Rimini Street noted that while the complaint against TomorrowNow is similar to the complaint against Rimini Street, its business practices are different.

"Oracle is well aware of the significant differences between Rimini Street's practices and procedures and those of SAP's TomorrowNow," the filing reads. "For instance, Rimini Street does not have or make available a 'single repository' of downloaded Oracle Software and Support Materials as Oracle states."

Rimini Street has demanded a jury trial and is seeking damages.

"Oracle's false and disparaging statements regarding Rimini Street's businesses have directly led to economic loss on the part of Rimini Street through specific loss of sales," the countersuit says.

The Oracle-SAP TomorrowNow suit is scheduled for a jury trial in November.

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