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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Oracle-Rimini Street copyright war lands back at Ninth Circuit

Rimini Street, a third-party software provider, is fighting sanctions in the 13-year copyright fight with Oracle.

(CN) — The ongoing legal saga between Oracle and Rimini Street continued Monday before a Ninth Circuit panel.

California-based Oracle maintains that Rimini, a third-party supplier of software support services, has infringed its copyrights while Rimini was providing services to its clients who had purchased Oracle software.

U.S. Circuit Judges Jay Bybee, a George W. Bush appointee, and Donald Trump appointees Patrick Bumatay and Mark Bennett, heard arguments from Raechel Kummer of the firm Morgan Lewis representing Oracle and Mark Perry from Weil Gotshal, representing Rimini. This litigation between the two software companies has been raging for over 13 years.  

Rimini, based in Las Vegas, is appealing sanctions from a federal judge in Nevada for continuing to copy Oracle’s software programs. Rimini provides third-party support to its customers with the software.

“We certainly want to comply with the law. We want to comply with this injunction. This has been 13 years of litigation of kind of whack-a-mole, your honors. We tried to comply. Oracle won’t tell us how, it simply tells us how not,” Perry told the panel, who added there are no software environments on Rimini systems.

“Every environment is on a client system. Clients all have licenses. Clients all have licenses to work with those to allow for third-parties,” said Perry.

As Perry argued the case, Judge Bennett said, “The point is, as I understand it, is that essentially it’s a de minimis and the scope of the injunction has been unfairly expanded, essentially. Is that your argument?”

Perry agreed and ended by saying the sanctions are “unsupportable” and “have to be reversed.”

Then Oracle’s attorney Kummer had her shot addressing the judges.

“Judge Hicks absolutely did not abuse his discretion. There is no mish-mash in his opinion, which should be affirmed,” said Kummer, referring to the trial court judge who issued the sanctions. “As Judge Hicks held Rimini’s contemptuous conduct was extensive, deliberate and pervasive. Rimini repeatedly infringed on Oracle’s copyright in essentially the same manner that the court and a jury previously determined was unlawful.”

Kummer continued: “Judge Hicks has presided over almost 11 years of copyright litigation between Oracle and Rimini regarding Rimini’s serial infringement. He issued the permanent injunction, which this court affirmed with minor modifications, and now having held Rimini in contempt with that conjunction, his order should be affirmed. Your honors, Rimini’s argument for a reversal is simply wrong. They argue for the wrong legal standard.”

In previous proceedings in the long, drawn-out case, in addition to collecting $50 million in damages, Oracle won an award of $28.5 million in attorneys’ fees, $3.4 million more in costs and $12.8 million for litigation expenses, which was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court 2019 as beyond what is allowed by federal court.

Part of Rimini's brief to the Ninth Circuit argued Hicks erroneously expanded the scope of the injunction to prohibit three categories of lawful conduct that had never been adjudicated as infringing. This conduct did not, and could not, violate the injunction, and it therefore cannot form the basis for a contempt sanction, the company argued.

Neither Perry nor Kummer responded to requests for comment by press time. The panel did not indicate when it would rule.

Categories / Appeals, Media, Technology

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