A U.S. district court judge has ordered that Oracle's lawsuit against SAP and its TomorrowNow subsidiary be sent to mediation, according to a court document posted on www.tnlawsuit.com, a Web site SAP set up for the case.
SAP spokesman Andy Kendzie declined to comment in much detail about Judge Jenkins' ruling, which occurred after a case management conference on Tuesday, according to the document.
"Our preference had always been that we explored mediation," Kendzie said.
Oracle filed suit against SAP and TomorrowNow last year, charging that TomorrowNow employees illegally downloaded data from a secure Oracle support Web site, and used it to court Oracle's customers. The initial complaint alleges that "corporate theft on a grand scale" had occurred.
SAP has said TomorrowNow was authorized to download materials from Oracle's Web site on behalf of TomorrowNow's customers, but also acknowledged "some inappropriate downloads of fixes and support documents occurred at TomorrowNow." SAP has asserted that this information remained in TomorrowNow's systems and that SAP itself did not gain access to Oracle's intellectual property.
TomorrowNow provides third-party support for Oracle's PeopleSoft, Siebel and JD Edwards software products.
An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment.
Another recent filing in the case suggests that mediation -- one of several alternative dispute resolution methods the court encourages -- may not provide a quick resolution to the software giants' dispute.
In the filing, dated January 29, Oracle claimed that during the discovery process it had "uncovered a broader program of copyright infringement that is entirely different from the scheme alleged in the current complaint."
The company added that it is "gathering additional facts and analyzing the need to file an amended complaint that will encompass these new claims."