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Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Back issues
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Tech-Support Fims May Be Cornered by Oracle

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) - Two tech-support companies must face claims that they "duped" Oracle America customers into giving them personal access codes, a federal judge ruled.

Oracle develops business management hardware and software for major corporations across the globe. The Redwood City, Calif.-based firm accused third-party technical support companies TeRIX Computer Co. and Maintech of getting their hands on Oracle's Solaris operating system upgrade by lying to customers.

The companies allegedly achieved this by talking Oracle customers into handing over their Customer Support Identification numbers - important key codes that grant online access to Oracle updates, software patches, bug fixes and other technical support files.

"Defendants falsely have told unwitting end users that they are authorized to access and distribute Solaris updates to the end users and/or that the end users are entitled to perpetual support on the Solaris operating system, including to receive Solaris updates, based on their original purchase of the hardware on which the operating system was installed," the 23-page complaint states.

Oracle alleged copyright infringement, breach of contract, intentional interference with prospective economic relations, unfair competition, and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the Lanham Act.

U.S. District Judge Paul Grewal refused to dismiss most of the claims Friday, tossing only a claim that the defendants were involved in key code "trafficking."

"Oracle has not alleged that defendants transferred or otherwise disposed of its customer's login credentials," Grewal said. "Instead, defendants are alleged only to have received the login credentials from their customer and used the credentials themselves."

The defendants failed to persuade Grewal that the CFAA does not provide a cause of action for gaining access to Oracle's site using third-party credentials.

"While defendants are right to the extent they challenge Oracle's allegations regarding access by customers who had rights, however limited in scope, the same cannot be said of the allegations of access by Maintech and TeRIX themselves," Grewal wrote.

The judge also upheld the breach of contract, copyright, Lanham Act, Intentional Interference and unfair competition claims, granting Oracle leave to amend the CFAA claim.

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