Different Judge, Different Verdict? Diageo's £54m SAP Legal Slap Could Have Gone Another Way

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The Register


If you use software licensed by SAP, you had better read your licence. If you have not yet acquired SAP software, you should make sure you use an experienced IT licensing lawyer before contracting.

If you agree to SAP’s standard licence terms and use the software in a way not expressly permitted by the licence, it could cost you tens of millions of dollars in completely unexpected incremental licence and maintenance fees. That is what happened to a UK company in a questionable decision released in the case of SAP UK Ltd v Diageo Great Britain Ltd.

Diageo had paid SAP between £50m and £61m in licence and maintenance fees to use the mySAP Business Suite. It integrated the suite with software from Salesforce using SAP PI integrator software. SAP claimed a staggering £54,503,578 in additional fees based on API access to its software. A judge in England on the liability aspect of the case sided with SAP on its right to collect additional licence and maintenance fees. However, the amount owing remains to be determined.