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HP v. Oracle: Proposed Statement of Decision

HP v. Oracle: Proposed Statement of Decision

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Published by Rachel King

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Published by: Rachel King on Aug 01, 2012
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01/16/2013

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SUPERIORCOURT,STATEOFCALIFORNIACOUNTYOFSANTACLARA
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HEWLETT-PACKARDCOMPANY,
)))))
)CaseNo.:1~11~CV-203163
)
)PROPOSEDSTATEMENTOFDECISION
)))
)
)
--------------------------~)
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Plaintiff,
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VS.
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ORACLECORPORATION,
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Defendant
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NOTICE:INACCORDANCEWITH§632OFTHECODEOFCIVILPROCEDUREANDRULE3.1590(g),CALIFORNIARULESOFCOURT,THEPARTIESHAVE15DAYSTOOBJECTTOTHISPROPOSEDDECISION
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HewlettPackardCompanyv.OracleCorporationSuperiorCourta/California,Countya/SantaClara,CaseNo.l-11-CV-203163ProposedStatement
0/
Decision
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I.INTRODUCTION
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ThiscasecausestheCourttorevisitthecenturies-oldissuesofwhetheracontractexists
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and,ifso,whatdoesitmean.ThesequestionsarefortheCourttodecide,ratherthanajury.
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(GreaterMiddletonAssn.
v.
HolmesLumberCo.
(1990)222Ca1.App.3d980,989-990.)When
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theCourtdeniedthesummaryjudgmentmotionbroughtbyHewlett-PackardCompany("HP")
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todeclaretherewasindeedacontractwithOracleCorporation("Oracle")andtofurtherspecify
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whatitmeant,therewerefactualissuesthatrequiredatrial.(OrderofMay14,2012["MSJ
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Order"]).Forseveralweeks,theCourtheardfrombusinessexecutives,lawyers,andcomputer
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engineersfrombothsides.InmakingthisdecisiontheCourthasbeenguidedbyestablished
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principlessuchasthese:
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"Whenadisputearisesoverthemeaningofcontractlanguage,thefirstquestiontobe
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decidediswhetherthelanguageis'reasonablysusceptible'totheinterpretationurgedbythe
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party.
If
itisnot,thecaseisover."
(SouthernCal.EdisonCo.
v.
SuperiorCourt
(1995)37
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Cal.AppAth839,847-848,citing
ConsolidatedWorldInvestments,Inc.
v.
LidoPreferred,Ltd.
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(1992)9Cal.AppAth373,379).ShouldtheCourtdecidethelanguageisreasonablysusceptible
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totheinterpretationurged,theCourtmovestothesecondquestion:whatdidthepartiesintend
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thelanguagetomean?
(Winetv.Price
(1992)4Cal.AppAth1159,1165.)"Whetherthe
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contractisreasonablysusceptibletoaparty'sinterpretationcanbedeterminedfromthelanguage
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ofthecontractitself
(UnitedTeachersofOakland
v.
OaklandUnifiedSch.Dist.
(1977)75
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Cal.App.3d322,330)orfromextrinsicevidenceoftheparties'intent
(Winet
v.
Price,supra,4
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Cal.AppAthatp.1165.)"
(SouthernCal.Edison,supra,
37Cal.App.4thatpp.847-848).1
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Thisisnotthefirsttimeadisputehasarisenbetweentwobillion-dollarcorporationsastowhetheracontractexistedbetweenthem.TheCourttakesjudicialnoticeofthePennzoil/Texacolitigationofsomeyearsago.InthatcaseahandshakebetweenthekeyexecutivesbecamethefocalpointofthedecisionconcerningthepurchaseofGettyOil.(See
Texacov.Pennzoil
(1987)729S.W.2d768.)
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HewlettPackardCompanyv.OracleCorporationSuperiorCourtofCalifornia,CountyofSantaClara,CaseNo.l-11-CV-203163ProposedStatement
0/
Decision
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PursuanttoCaliforniaRulesofCourt,rule3.1590(g),"[a]nypartymay,within15daysII.PROCEDURALBACKGROUND
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ThebenchtrialofthiscasebeganonMay31,2012andproceededtotrialthroughJune
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26,2012,totaling12trialdays.Thirtywitnessestestifiedinpersonorbywayofselected
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depositionexcerpts.Over500exhibitswereintroducedintoevidence.Thepartiesmade
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detailedopeningstatementsandclosingarguments,andutilizedtheCourt'sevidence
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presentationequipmenttoemphasizeevidenceandissuesastheysawfit.Bothsidessubmitted
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theirversionsofstatementsofdecisionwhichtheCourthascarefullyconsideredinmakingthis
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ruling.
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aftertheproposedstatementofdecisionandjudgmenthavebeenserved,serveandfile
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objectionstotheproposedstatementofdecisionorjudgment."Thereafter,theCourtshallissue
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itsfinaldecisionastothisphaseandacasemanagementconferencewillbescheduledto
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determinethetimingandcourseoffurtherproceedings.
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III.FINDINGSOFFACT
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A.ThePeriodBeforetheHurdLawsuitAndSettlement
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ForapproximatelythreedecadesOracleporteditsdatabase,middlewareandkey
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applicationsoftwaretoHP'sserverplatforms.
It
isundisputedthat"porting"istheprocessby
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whichsoftwareismadetorunonaparticularplatform.Inthecontextofthiscaseportingisthe
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essentialstepthatenablesOraclesoftwareandHPhardwaretoconnect.Throughoutthisperiod,
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HPandOracleengagedinjointsalesactivities,withHPsellingitshardwareandOracleselling
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itssoftware,intandem,totheirmutualcustomers.(Livermore6/4pm39:9-40:7;Ex.200at
4.i
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Therelationshipwasprofitableforbothparties.(Livermore6/4pm58:3-5;Fink
6/13
am73:25-
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75:8.).
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HewlettPackardCompanyv.OracleCorporationSuperiorCourta/California,Countya/SantaClara,CaseNo.J-ll-CV-203J63ProposedStatementa/Decision
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Footnotesrefertotrialtranscriptbydate(morningorafternoon),page(s)andline(s).

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