Bloomberg News

Oracle May Win Software License Resale Case, Court Aide Says

April 24, 2012

Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US), the largest maker of database software, may win a European Union court challenge seeking to prevent a German company from reselling Oracle software licenses, a court aide said.

Advocate General Yves Bot, a legal adviser to the EU’s Court of Justice, said Oracle may oppose the resale of “used” licences which allow their programs to be downloaded from the internet again, according to a statement on his non-binding opinion today

Still, Bot said, companies such as Oracle may not prevent the resale of used copies of software, downloaded by their own customers from the internet, “given that their exclusive right of distribution relating to those copies is ‘exhausted’.”

Oracle is seeking to prevent Hhs Usedsoft GmbH, based in Munich, Germany, from selling computer software and licenses that are no longer being used by the original buyer.

Oracle viewed the court opinion as “positive” and is convinced that the final ruling from the court would “create a precedent that protects software developers of all sizes and protects innovation in the technology industry,” said Karl Cox, Oracle’s vice president for public policy in a statement published on the company’s website.

UsedSoft’s Managing Director Peter Schneider said the court opinion may lead to “total legal certainty for the market in second-hand software” if Bot’s views are supported by the EU’s highest court and Germany’s federal court, according to an e- mailed statement.

Although the advocate general’s opinion isn’t binding, it is followed by the court in the majority of cases.

The case is: C-128/11 Axel W. Bierbach (liquidator of UsedSoft GmbH) v Oracle International Corp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.


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