They think it's all over. It's not now: US judge rejects HPE motion to have Oracle's Solaris sueball dismissed

Here we go again


A US judge has denied HPE's motion for a summary judgement in its long-running Solaris operating system support squabble with Oracle.

The original lawsuit had accused Hewlett Packard Enterprise of selling unauthorized updates to the Oracle software.

The order [PDF] means the case stands every chance of rumbling on a good while longer. "The Court will deny Defendant's motion and grant Plaintiffs' motion as to HPE's affirmative defenses," the order said.

In other words, the judge has sided with Oracle this time.

At the heart of the case is a copyright infringement brought by Oracle against HPE in 2016 concerning patches supplied to Solaris customers that were allegedly not under the appropriate Oracle support contract.

In July 2013, Oracle sued Terix, an IT support company, over "allegedly improper installations of Solaris patches onto servers not covered under a support contract."

Oracle had also won $58m from Terix the prior year over similar claims, having said the firm violated copyright by providing third party support.

The 2016 case began when Big Red flung a sueball HPE's way over Solaris updates provided by Terix being installed on HPE customer servers. A to-ing and fro-ing has since ensued, and a US magistrate judge gave Oracle a dressing-down for "extreme, unnecessary, overheated rhetoric" in its submissions.

The case was effectively tossed out by Judge Jon Tigar after HPE's motion for a summary judgement was granted in 2019.

The Ninth Circuit later revived the case and it's before Tigar again.

The unsealed document (which still includes plenty of redactions for fans of the black rectangle) rejected HPE's motions. Tigar concluded "the Court denies HPE's motion for summary judgment on all counts and grants Oracle's motion for summary judgment as to HPE's express license, implied license, abandonment, estoppel, fair use, and 17 U.S.C. § 117 defenses."

The Register contacted Oracle and HPE, both of which declined to provide a statement.

While the ruling has not handed a victory to Oracle in the long-running case, it does clear the way for yet more legal shenanigans, including a possible trial, over the coming year. ®

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