Oracle Revives Some HP Copyright Claims Over Solaris Software

Written August 31, 2020

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on August 20, 2020, revived some Oracle America Inc. claims that Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. infringed its copyrights by installing patches for its Solaris software on customer servers without permission. Oracle Am. Inc. v. Hewlett Packard Enter. Co., 9th Cir., No. 19-15506, 8/20/20.

Oracle owned the Solaris software operating system and granted purchasers a license that required them to sign a support contract with Oracle to access update patches. Oracle sued HP for allegedly accessing, downloading, copying, and installing Solaris patches on unauthorized servers. The US District Court for the Northern District of California granted HP summary judgment.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed that Oracle’s infringement claims were time-barred for conduct that occurred before May 2012, based on the parties’ agreed-to statute of limitations. Oracle “had suspicions” about HP’s conduct “as early as 2010 and certainly by October 2011" and failed to conduct an investigation then, the court said.