Theft is a criminal offence. Oracle sued SAP for compensation for damages, that would be tort law (statutory or case) that covers this. One does not negate the existence of another nor prohibit the courts from adjudicating in either. "Theft" occurred and damages were incurred. Oracle wants recompense.
In most jurisdictions, the definition of theft has been substantially extended to cover a wide variety of acts wherein the offender obtains material advantage at the expense of another by various means. Not all of these require a physical item to be physically removed from another's possession, though I grant that this was the original meaning of the "theft" offence (at least in the UK)
"A person shall be guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it."
These days, it's all bundled under "Fraud" in the UK and this covers a far wider range of enrichment activities.
The software patches etc. were acquired knowingly, by deception, in the full and prior knowledge that said patches etc. were only available at a cost from the provider. While I cannot be bothered to look up the appropriate statutes where this happened, it is extremely likely that it was "theft" in a general sense and "theft" or "fraud" in a legal, criminal sense.
Civil suits are where compensation is awarded, while criminal cases are where justice is metered out. That criminal charges have apparently not been brought against the officers of TomorrowNow (I did not hear about any, so there may have been) is a reflection of Oracle's interest versus society's interests, which are not even remotely the same in this case.
Also, I am not angry. I have no dog in the fight. I do however, think that the average ElReg commentard is fundamentally ignorant of the matters upon which they opine. It seems to me that intelligent, informed commentary has all but disappeared from these pages.
You are all entitled to have a different opinion.
Downvote button this way --->