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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Oracle Files ‘Gray|Market’ Complaint

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Oracle claims two tech companies conspired to steal its software code and told "unwitting third parties - including the U.S. Navy and the Federal Drug Administration," that they had rights to it.

Oracle America sued Service Key LLC and DLT Federal Business Systems Corp. in Federal Court.

Oracle claims the defendants "conspired to steal and distributed copyrighted, proprietary Oracle software code, along with the login credentials necessary to download this code from Oracle's password-protected websites. Through false pretenses as purported Oracle customers or partners, defendants have taken vast quantities of software patches and updates for Oracle's Sun Solaris Operating System and other technical support files used on Oracle's Sun computers. Defendants have falsely told unwitting third parties - including the U.S. Navy and the Federal Drug Administration - that they have authority to provide Oracle's highly prized and proprietary intellectual property despite, in fact, having no such authorization or permission from Oracle to do so. Oracle brings this lawsuit to stop this illegal activity."

Oracle offers technical support services for its software and other products over the Internet. Customers that buy a technical support agreement receive a "Customer Support Identification" number, which allows them to create log-in credentials to get access to Oracle's secure support website, to download software patches and other updates.

Customers cannot share access credentials. Only customers who pay for and maintain a technical support agreement may download the patches and updates and only for their own business, according to the complaint.

Oracle claims that Service Key, a Georgia LLC, provides its log-in credentials to third-party providers such DLT, a Delaware corporation, which in turn offers support services directly to end-use customers such as the Navy and FDA.

If those customers choose to hire third parties such as Service Key to DLT to provide support services, instead of using Oracle, the third party may not use Oracle's support website or provide access to Oracle's support website to others, or use official updates, patches, or fixes, Oracle says.

The updates, patches and fixes are Oracle's intellectual property, to which third-party providers have no rights, according to the complaint.

Service Key and DLT allegedly "ignored these rules as part of a gray market conspiracy to sell support on Oracle hardware to customers with no active support contract with Oracle."

Oracle claims the defendants told customers they could provide access and support and that customers could use access credentials provided by DLT.

Oracle seeks damages for copyright infringement, false advertising, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, fraudulent inducement and intentional interference with prospective economic relations.

It seeks an accounting, disgorgement and treble damages.

It is represented by Geoffrey Howard with Bingham McCutchen.

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