Business & Finance

Vishal Sikka denies Teradata’s IP theft charges

Former SAP executive Vishal Sikka on Friday denied IP theft charges made by tech firm Teradata, terming the allegations as “baseless and outrageous”, and said the work on HANA platform was carried out with “highest integrity”.

Cloud-based data and analytics firm Teradata has filed a complaint in a US court against German firm SAP alleging trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement and antitrust violations and also named Sikka as being aware of the situation.

Slamming the charges levelled against him by Teradata, former Infosys chief Sikka in an emailed statement said: “Although this lawsuit is not directed at me, I categorically deny the baseless and outrageous allegations made by Teradata that attempt to diminish the hard work, passion, and the irrefutable and fully legitimate achievements by the Hana team, including myself”.

He further stated that “as with all my endeavours, my work with SAP HANA was carried out with the highest integrity, professionalism and respect for all obligations towards trade secrets and intellectual property (IP)”.

Teradata’s complaint, filed with the US District Court for the Northern District of California, claimed that key SAP employees, including its then former CTO Vishal Sikka “were aware of and supported SAP’s misappropriation of Teradata’s trade secrets during the development of HANA”.

Sikka is considered to be the force behind SAP’s analytics platform HANA that had helped the company strengthen its position in the global market.

On the development, SAP has said it is “surprised to learn of the complaint filed by Teradata earlier today in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Although SAP generally does not comment on pending litigation, SAP may issue a statement, if appropriate, after it has had an opportunity to review the complaint”.

The complaint has been filed against SAP SE, SAP America, Inc and SAP Labs, LLC (collectively, SAP), Teradata said in a statement on its website. The statement also carried an online link to a copy of the lawsuit filed against SAP.

“Among other instances of misappropriation, SAP used Teradata trade secrets to optimise the processing of certain Open SQL queries for large volumes of data, enabling improved performance speed and opportunities for parallel processing and other enhancements on SAP’s HANA. On information and belief, key SAP employees, including Sikka, the so-called “mastermind” of HANA, was aware of and supported SAP’s misappropriation of Teradata’s trade secrets during the development of HANA,” the complaint said.

Teradata alleged that SAP has “engaged in a decade-long campaign of anti-competitive behaviour, to the detriment of the parties’ customers and Teradata alike” and that the German firm had “lured” Teradata into a purported joint venture to gain access to the latter’s intellectual property.

“SAP’s purpose for the JV was to steal Teradata’s trade secrets, developed over the course of four decades, and use them to quickly develop and introduce a competing though inferior product, SAP HANA,” it claimed.

Teradata further alleged that upon the release of SAP HANA, SAP promptly terminated the JV and that “SAP is now attempting to coerce its customers into using HANA only, to the exclusion of Teradata”.

“We believe seeking relief through legal action against SAP is a necessary step to protect the rights and interests of our shareholders and all of our other stakeholders, including our customers. Teradata is seeking an injunction barring SAP’s illegal conduct, monetary damages, and all other legal and equitable relief available under the law and which the court may deem proper,” according to the Teradata statement.

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