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Oracle hits UK reseller with lawsuit for allegedly reselling grey market Sun hardware

Big Red wanted TXO Systems dragged to court for years, say legal papers

Oracle has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a British reseller that — it claims — infringed Sun Microsystems’ intellectual property by engaging in grey market reselling.

TXO Systems is accused having “offered for sale and/or sold goods bearing the Sun Trade Marks and/or the Oracle Trade Marks which have not been put on the market in the UK or the EEA by or with the consent of the Claimants or the Oracle Group.”

Oracle claims TXO offered a total of 343 Sun and Oracle-branded products to Wildfire Systems Ltd which Oracle alleges were originally “put on the market in the USA, Australia, Andorra and Bosnia & Herzegovina” as well as China.

From court documents obtained by The Register it appears that Oracle has had its eye on TXO for some time, judging by events referred to in the particulars of claim against the reseller. The Chepstow-based company was hit with Oracle's High Court suit a fortnight ago.

While the offer of 343 servers to Wildfire was allegedly made in December 2020, a TXO salesman is claimed to have offered four new Sun servers to a Danish company called Epoka A/S in 2015. In addition, TXO is also claimed to have bought two servers from Germany which were later found, in Oracle’s words, to contain “components which had not been put on the market in the UK or the EEA”.

Lawsuits against resellers are not uncommon in the Western world’s courts. Last year Microsoft sued a Florida firm over alleged copyright infringement, while a few years ago HPE won £1.95m in the High Court after a judge ruled that a small HPE reseller had abused the firm’s special bid pricing mechanisms. Lawsuit traffic is not all one way, however: a reseller is suing Microsoft for £270m over restrictive software licence contracts.

TXO has not yet filed its defence to Oracle’s claims. We have asked the company for comment and have also approached Wildfire Systems. Neither firm responded.

“The Claimants are unable at this stage to quantify their damage however they believe it to be substantial,” said a vaguely threatening Oracle. As well as financial damages, the Sun owner is seeking an injunction preventing TXO selling more Sun or Oracle-branded gear, an account of profits, payment of those profits to Oracle, and “an order for dissemination and publication of the Judgment at the expense of the Defendant”.

The case continues. ®

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