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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Damages sought by software maker Oracle Corp could top $1 billion in an intellectual property lawsuit it has brought against arch-rival SAP AG, according to a court filing.

Oracle is suing TomorrowNow, a U.S. subsidiary of SAP, for corporate theft and alleges it illegally downloaded masses of Oracle customer service materials and passed those documents to SAP.

"Because defendants have not provided Oracle with critical information relevant to liability and resulting damages, Oracle does not yet know its damages with precision," Oracle said in a filing this week to the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, California.

"But, even so, it appears Oracle’s damages are, at a minimum, well into the several hundreds of millions of dollars and likely are at least a billion dollars."

SAP replied in the joint discovery statement: "Oracle speculates wildly about the amount of its damages ‘claim’ in this discovery report, even though more than a year after this case was filed, Oracle still refuses to identify with any precision the nature or amount of its alleged harm or even to provide the theory on which its damage claim is based."

SAP has admitted employees of TomorrowNow, which specializes in customer support for PeopleSoft and JD Edwards software, inappropriately downloaded some Oracle materials.

SAP bought TomorrowNow in 2005 after Oracle bought PeopleSoft, which in turn had acquired JD Edwards — hoping to exploit uncertainty among PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers as to how Oracle would support them.

Germany-based SAP is the world’s leading maker of software applications to help large businesses automate and manage functions ranging from human resources to supply chains.

Oracle, the world’s biggest database company, has spent billions on acquisitions over the last few years to challenge SAP’s leadership in that area. 

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