- Associated Press - Thursday, September 1, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal judge has overturned a $1.3 billion verdict against business software maker SAP, calling it “grossly excessive.”

The ruling Thursday is a major victory for SAP AG and an unexpected setback for Oracle Corp., which filed the case.

Oracle’s outspoken CEO Larry Ellison had used evidence that an SAP subsidiary had stolen software and customer-support documents from password-protected Oracle websites as a platform to slam his longtime nemesis.

The jury award in November capped a circus-like trial in which Ellison taunted not only SAP but also its former CEO, Leo Apotheker, who is now CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co., another Oracle rival.

Judge Phyllis Hamilton in in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., the site of the three-week trial, says the penalty was “contrary to the weight of the evidence” in the high-profile case.

Oracle stock fell 15 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $27.92 in mid-afternoon trading Thursday. SAP stock fell 68 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $53.83.

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