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Oracle's $1.3B award against SAP nixed as excessive

In a surprising twist, a judge has reversed a major ruling in favor of Oracle against SAP in the TomorrowNow corporate theft trial.

Oracle is involved in a number of legal battles at the moment--most notably with Google and Hewlett-Packard, among others--but a ruling yesterday is shaking everything up.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton is rejecting a $1.3 billion award that a jury offered to Oracle months ago in its corporate theft trial against SAP. That decision can be read online on SAP's Web site (PDF).

Here's a copy of the new ruling:

Oracle Sap New Trial

Oracle originally argued that SAP's subsidiary TomorrowNow wrongfully and illegally downloaded millions of Oracle files.

The reversal is not to say that the judge doesn't side with Oracle at all. Instead, Hamilton believes the actual damages to Oracle were worth only $272 million. A significant difference, obviously, which will definitely not please Oracle. But it's still a hefty chunk of change.

Oracle has two options here: either accept the $272 million award and move on, or go back in for a new trial. Larry Ellison's company still has not responded publicly to the decision yet.

However, given how many resources are being plugged into its lawsuit with Google over Android and Java patent infringement, it might be better for Oracle to just take this money and run.

This story originally appeared on ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Judge rejects Oracle's $1.3 billion award against SAP".