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[Updated] SAP Wants Lawyers in Oracle v SAP Trial Gagged

Geez, what a killjoy

Correction: We were wrong. SAP hasn't gotten its gag order yet. There's still hope. Evidently the court will hear arguments on the motion on Wednesday, October 27, then decide.

Geez, what a killjoy. Last Friday SAP asked for and got a gag order that will make it impossible for any of the attorneys involved in Oracle's billion-dollar suit against SAP for massive theft of intellectual property from speaking to the press while the trial's going on.

The trial starts Monday, November 1, and Oracle has hired the famous headline-grabbing David Boies to represent it. And Boies is supposed to call ex-SAP CEO Léo Apotheker to the stand as a witness and Léo officially starts his new job as CEO of HP on Monday so Larry stands to get a twofer out of the spectacle.

SAP has already admitted culpability. The trial is supposed to put a price on it. Oracle's demanding upwards of a billion dollars. SAP only wants to pay tens of millions.

SAP's petition for the gag order said, "The episode involving the New York Times article - coupled with Oracle's counsel's refusal to eschew publicity efforts during the trial despite recognizing that jurors may not heed a court instruction not to read press coverage - leads to this motion."

The Times story SAP's talking about is the recent Joe Nocera column that reasoned that Apotheker must have known what was going on and that the HP board had simply traded a little rascal - CEO Mark Hurd, now president of Oracle - for a bigger one.

Incoming HP chairman Ray Lane, who is still smarting from being fired from his job as president of Oracle 10 years ago, defended Apotheker in a letter to the Times that alerted the press to both Nocera's Saturday column and the upcoming trial.

And to make an already incestuous situation even more incestuous it turned out Nocera's girlfriend is David Boies' communications director although Nocera claimed he didn't know Boies was handling the case.

Anyway, gag order or not the press still stands to get a lot of lovely and possibly salacious copy out of it but not having the commentary will be a shame. Lawyers' insights and explanations are always good to have.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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