SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — After years and millions of dollars in legal setback, Nevada-based Rimini Street says a mixed appeals court ruling earlier this month marks the beginning of turning around it's largely losing legal defense against Oracle Corporation.
A news release issued by the Rimini Street the same day as the appeals court ruling refers to the mixed decision, including all awards and judgments against Rimini founder and CEO Seth A. Ravin also overturned by the appeals court. "Rimini Street should eventually receive a refund of up to nearly $50 million of the judgment previously paid by Rimini Street to Oracle," the release said.
Rimini Street also "will continue to prosecute its pending claims against Oracle for, amongst other claims, what Rimini Street believes are illegal anti-competitive practices," the release said.
On Jan. 8, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling that Rimini Street violated data access and computer crime laws in California and Nevada, but affirmed the company violated Oracle's copyright when it made unauthorized copies of Oracle's software for its Oracle licensee customers. The appeals court also vacated part of a district court judgment while also affirming the lower court's partial summary judgment and reduced the $124 million in damages awarded based on Rimini Street's alleged violations.
"It is undisputed that Rimini used Oracle's software to develop and test updates for its customers and that the software licenses, with certain restrictions, permitted Oracle’s licensees to hire Rimini to perform such work for them," the appeals court ruling said. "There are numerous subtleties involved but, at the highest level of generality, Rimini’s alleged copyright infringement included copying under the license of one customer for work for other existing customers or for unknown or future customers, rather than restricting such copying to work for that particular customer.
"The second principal dispute is whether Rimini and Ravin violated applicable state laws intended to prevent computer-based fraud by flouting Oracle’s restrictions against the use of automated tools to download software from its website. We also consider the appropriateness of the remedies awarded by the district court."
The appeals court's ruling was the latest development in about eight years of legal battles between Oracle and Rimini Street. Oracle filed suit against Rimini Street in January 2010 in U.S. District Court of Nevada, and later amended the complaint, accusing the company and Ravin of the "massive theft of Oracle’s software and related support materials through an illegal business model." Oracle's initial filings asked for a jury trial and sought $210 million in damages.
After a five-year legal fight, a jury found Rimini Street guilty of copyright infringement and awarded Oracle $50 million. The following year the U.S. District Court of Nevada handed down an order fining Rimini Street $27.7 million in prejudgment interest. At the same time, the Nevada court also issued a permanent injunction barring Rimini Street and its CEO from accessing any non-public part of Oracle's websites, downloading Oracle software and making Oracle software available to others.
In October 2016, Rimini announced it would take responsibility for its past practices and pay a one-time fair market license fee of $35.6 million to Oracle but would appeal other parts of the judgments against the company, including an $88 million balance of the $124 million total awarded to oracle. Rimini said it also would fight the injunction.