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Oracle Wins Case Against Third-Party Support Provider

Judge finds in Oracle's favor against ServiceKey and its CEO, Angela Vines, in case involving Solaris operating system support.
Oracle announced on Monday that it effectively won one in court, settling a case after a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Northern California issued an injunction against Norcross, Ga.-based ServiceKey and its CEO, Angela Vines.

The injunction prohibits ServiceKey and Vines from providing many services it offered as a third-party software support provider. Oracle filed a lawsuit against ServiceKey and Vines on February 12, 2012, claiming copyright infringement, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violation of the Lanham Act, breach of contract, inducing breach of contract, and intentional interference with its service business.

At stake in the case, as in several other recent and pending cases Oracle has filed against third-party support providers, is lucrative support revenue the company receives for ongoing software maintenance. ServiceKey had licensed a small number of Oracle Sun servers and it admitted in court that it had used its access codes to illegally download, copy and distribute Oracle's copyrighted Solaris operating system, including Solaris software updates and patches.

ServiceKey also admitted to falsely advertising its ability to provide the copyrighted Oracle Solaris patches to customers and illegally trafficking in passwords to Oracle's customer support website.

[ Want more on third-party support options? Read Rimini Street Expands Support To Oracle Database. ]

In her injunction, District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong ordered that ServiceKey and Vines may not "give, receive, sell or otherwise provide to anyone any Oracle/Sun software and/or support materials, including any updates, bug fixes, patches, media kits or other proprietary software support materials, and including any patches, bug fixes or updates to the Solaris Operating System." The injunction also prohibits ServiceKey and Vines from falsely advertising that they can provide Oracle-branded support, including "Oracle Premier Support for Systems."

No monetary damages were stipulated as part of the judgment against ServiceKey and Vines. That's a contrast to the $272 million judgment in Oracle's favor in a similar case against SAP and its now-defunct TomorrowNow subsidiary. That case, which has yet to be resolved, also hinged on copyright infringement, and SAP admitted liability for illegal downloads carried out by TomorrowNow.

Oracle has yet another lawsuit pending against third-part support provider Rimini Street, charging the company with "massive theft." Rimini countersued Oracle, maintaining its innocence and insisting it operates within the legal parameters of customer software license agreements.