Lawsuit Against SAP For Anticompetition Measures

Today, Versata Software, a business-rules development platform, filed a complaint to the European Commission that SAP A.G. illegally blocked the company from selling products to SAP customers, which make up three quarters of the world’s largest businesses.

At one time, Versata had a working relationship with SAP, the largest European software company in the industry. Versata’s pricing software “Pricer” was popular among users of SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.

Then SAP allegedly took measures to cut into the revenue coming into Versata from Pricer. SAP barred Versata from any interoperability information, cloned the Pricer software, and integrated the cloned product with its leading ERP product. Versata claims that this is in violation of a European Union treaty that protects competition, and thereby consumer choice and competitive innovation.

“Versata asks at minimum that the Commission require SAP provide interoperability information, and that it unbundle its own pricing configuration software from its dominant ERP software,” says Thomas Vinje, counsel for Versata. “The Commission should also impose an appropriate fine.”

Pricing software automates complex product pricing that can be based on any number of factors: color, size, location, discounts, etc. Versata’s product was meant to be incorporated with SAP’s ERP system.

Versata cites the 2009 Microsoft case as a reference. In this case, the European Commission forced Microsoft to pay 1.6 billion euros in fines for making its web browser the default on its operating systems.

Versata already won a lawsuit against SAP for cloning software last year. A U.S. district court jury awarded the software company $139 million in damages, though the case is still pending several post-trial decisions.

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