There was another small explosion in a long-dormant legal battle between Oracle and Rimini Street, a company that provides third-party support services to Oracle customers.
The dispute relates to Rimini’s use of Oracle files to support their mutual customers, and it could put off companies considering a Rimini alternative to Oracle support for legacy PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel products.
In its most recent ruling on January 12, 2022, the US District Court for the Nevada District of Rimini found in contempt A 2018 court ruling in five cases orders Rimini to pay a $630,000 fine and Oracle costs. For five other cases raised by Oracle, the court found no case to answer.
Oracle General Counsel Dorian Daly amplified the ruling, saying, “Our rights are once again sanctioned, and the court recognizes Rimini as a bad actor in violation of federal law.”
A statement from Rimini, as expected, sought to reduce the ruling, saying: “Despite Oracle’s extensive discovery that began more than two years ago and involved millions of pages of documents, only 10 items were ultimately shown in court. …the court ruled in favor of Rimini Street in five.”
Rimini is considering whether to appeal the ruling on the other five cases.
What did Rimini do?
Rimini’s business model is that it supports customers with access to Oracle code and data files that its customers, as Oracle licensees, are legally entitled to.
However, in its January 2010 lawsuit, Oracle alleged that Rimini would log into Oracle’s password-protected technical support sites using a customer’s credentials, using automated tools to download files that bypass the customer’s authorization under the license agreement that would be used by Oracle. Rimini afterwards in order to help other customers.
In April of that year, Rimini filed a counterclaim, saying that Oracle was well aware that Rimini was accessing Oracle’s systems on behalf of its customers with their authorization — and Oracle’s cooperation. She defended her use of automated tools for downloading files, saying that Oracle did not provide enough tools to manage such large amounts of material.
The case ran for more than eight years, culminating in the October 2015 ruling that Rimini had infringed the copyrights of Oracle and Oracle awarded $50 million in compensation About a fifth of what I ordered.
This was not the end of it. Rimini got some of the original court findings, and in March 2018 it got a $21.5 million refund from Oracle.
However, Oracle convinced the court to grant it a permanent injunction against Rimini to prevent further infringements of its copyrights. The court ordered Rimini not to reproduce, prepare derivative works from, or distribute Oracle software or documentation for PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, and Oracle Database products, other than to serve a specific customer whose Oracle license permits such use.
What did Remini do next
In April 2019, the court granted Oracle’s request to investigate whether Rimini was complying. After a year-long discovery process, Oracle has identified 10 issues with Rimini using its files. Many of them included annual updates to Oracle’s software to deal with changes in tax laws and price changes.
In one, for example, a customer emailed a PeopleSoft patch file to Rimini, when a Rimini technician examined the file that put the company in violation of the terms of an Oracle license, the injunction and Rimini policy filed to ensure its compliance with the injunction. Despite the client’s participation in the file, the court found that Rimini had not demonstrated substantive compliance with the order, and that its new procedures were insufficient.
In another, Rimini tested a fix for one customer in another customer’s development environment, and then sent it out to other customers as well. The court found this to be a violation of the prohibition of an injunction on cross use.