back to article Teradata lobs sueball at SAP, alleges HANA based on its 'trade secrets'

Data warehousing biz Teradata has flung a sueball (PDF) at SAP in the District Court for Northern California, alleging the German ERP giant undertook a "decade-long campaign of trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement and antitrust violations". Teradata claims that SAP used its strong position in ERP to "lure" the …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge

    revenues of $2.3m, and net loss of $67m

    Ouch - SAP won't need to delay things for very long before Teradata just go bust at that rate.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: revenues of $2.3m, and net loss of $67m

      Their financial position has been pretty precarious for a long, long time. I first became aware of it in the late 1980's. It is a wonder that they have lasted this long.

      1. Mark 110 Silver badge

        Re: revenues of $2.3m, and net loss of $67m

        And if you ever dealt with them its not hard to see why. All sales pitch and no delivery.

  2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    kinda surprised

    that SAP didn't just buy them outright like they did Ariba. I suppose they must have thought they could beat any lawsuit that might arise.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forcing HANA

    Without knowing the legal ins and outs, I must admit I have been a bit surprised that SAP forcing HANA over other DBs hasn't garnered more criticism - surely this is a bit anti-competitive?

    1. Mark 110 Silver badge

      Re: Forcing HANA

      Not sure its true. I was working at one of the biggest SAP shops in the world (Unilever) when HANA was launched and there was no rough stuff. Actually, more a "this looks like an advance, bring it on" attitude from the business & techies.

      I sense Teradata clutching at straws before they go under here.

      1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

        Re: Forcing HANA

        "I was working at one of the biggest SAP shops in the world (Unilever) when HANA was launched and there was no rough stuff."

        Maybe not then, but my company is going through a long-overdue SAP upgrade now. The very obviously implied meaning now is "Say, that's a nice business you got there. Shame if something were to happen to the ERP running it." Not quite Dinsdale Piranha, but almost.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge


          HANA is meant to be a lot more than just a database. App server and pixie dust too.

  4. EveryTime Silver badge

    One thing I like about El Reg is that I can trust the informed comments here far more than lawsuit claims.

    I'll point out that "It should have been in the contract" isn't a useful response. You can't specify every detail in a contract. And when a large company violates a complicated contract, a small company often can't come out ahead by filing a lawsuit, even if they "win".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least they've always got Tesco

    Haven't they ? Haven't they ?

    And Royal Mail ?

    Poor Teradata.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Teradata suing after a one sided JV failed is no suprise

    but what were they expecting?

    Not that shady behavior out of Services at Astronomical Prices is a surprise either, but has a integrated solutions player like SAP ever NOT built it's own competing solution and then pulled up stakes once they were ready to launch? Who would ever trust/expect an SAP or Oracle not to pull up stakes at the first opportunity.

    For Teradata's sake I hope their suit alleges a stronger case than "we made data warehousing systems before you therefore your design must be based on ours". If they had meat, this would probably be in Patent court not filing nebulous antitrust allegations. I guess we will see in a few years. Not sure SAP has enough of a lock on the market for that to stick.

  7. Walter Bishop Silver badge

    SAP stole our innovation says Teradata

    'Teradata claims that SAP used its strong position in ERP to "lure" the US biz into a joint venture back in 2008 and alleges it then took the opportunity to accumulate the info necessary to "quickly grab market share" in data warehousing.'

    That's business 101, in this business, it isn't unknown for a larger firm to 'partner' with a smaller one until they've extracted all the innovation and then co-incidentally announce a similar product on sale. The smaller company goes bust in litigation and the larger one then mops up the intellectual property and hires on the old staff. Lets see if we can think of the name of one such company.

  8. Rob D.

    Life is so unfair

    SAP reworked the underlying data structures in the ERP product to move away from the relational database storage model in part to stop handing so much business to Oracle. That has been a significant motivator for a large company to invest in reinventing the data storage model and it isn't immediately obvious which tech innovations Teradata are linking to the S/4HANA storage model changes.

    Is Teradata really launching a case on the basis that SAP stole all their ideas and only by that could SAP produce HANA, which isn't even a relational database like Teradata Database? There are elements of the SAP portfolio in the data analytics area, and SAP's farcical rebranding of everything as SAP HANA a couple of years ago does muddy the waters, but the fundamental technical change with S/4HANA ERP is the move away from relational database storage for the underlying ERP business data (even the external data model is broadly still the same - it's just the internal storage).

    The whiny, unfocused nature of the complaint ("introduce a competing (though inferior) product: SAP HANA") would indicate more that Teradata is annoyed that SAP is leaving it behind in both the marketing and the technical execution, and is looking to see if a bit of good lawyering can make up for or obfuscate that lack. Be interesting to see if there is anything concrete beyond the sound of execs crying about how life is so unfair.

    1. James Anderson

      Re: Life is so unfair

      SAP may have used a relational database to store data, but, anyone who has had the misfortune to look at the innards of thier database will no that it is very far from any relational data model.

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