Oracle Suit Against SAP Set Back As Judge Resigns From Case

Judge Maxine Chesney abruptly dropped out of the corporate theft and spying lawsuit, asking that the case be reassigned.
Software maker Oracle's sensational corporate theft and spying lawsuit against rival SAP took a step back Wednesday as the judge hearing the case dismissed herself from further overseeing the legal action.

In a court filing, Judge Maxine Chesney of the U.S. District Court for Northern California said she decided to resign from the case after "finding myself disqualified." She went on to say that she would "hereby recuse myself from this case and request that the case be reassigned."

Chesney didn't provide a reason for her action. She couldn't be immediately reached for comment, and a clerk in her San Francisco courtroom declined to provide further information.

Chesney's decision could cause a significant delay in the case's proceedings. Her court filing, dated May 9th, noted that "all pending dates of motions, pretrial conferences, and trial are hereby vacated and are to be reset by the newly assigned judge."

Oracle filed suit against SAP in March, charging the German company with "theft on a grand scale."

Among the allegations contained in Oracle's complaint: Workers at an SAP subsidiary "copied and swept thousands of Oracle products and other proprietary and confidential materials into its own servers" using fake logins or credentials stolen from legitimate, high-profile Oracle customers such as Bear Stearns, Honeywell, Merck, and others.

The trove of ill-gotten products allowed SAP "to offer cut-rate support services to customers who use Oracle software, and to attempt to lure them to SAP's applications software," Oracle charged.

The aggrieved software maker claimed that workers at the subsidiary, SAP TomorrowNow, in one instance used the phony IDs to access Oracle servers and download "more than 1,800 items per day for four days straight." SAP has pledged to investigate the allegations but has yet to file a formal, legal response to Oracle's charges.