“Customers are sophisticated. They buy software that solves problems, and SAP solves a lot problems,” said Walravens. “The implications from this are more around the way people do business, which is, you have to be really careful about infringing people’s copyrights. Even if you think the damages from that behavior aren’t very big, you can end up having to pay a lot of money.”

If the verdict is allowed to stand, it will set the tone for other technology copyright cases.

Few cases can match Oracle vs. SAP for scandal and star power, but the size of the award is a warning shot for others embroiled in similar disputes, and an incentive for plaintiffs to push more cases through to trial instead of settling.

While SAP can decide whether to let the lawsuit die, it’s powerless in another key element of the case that has yet to play out: the company has acknowledged an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the matter, and criminal charges are a possibility.

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