HP-Oracle Itanium Contract Trial Resumes After Talks Fail

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle Corp. failed to reach a settlement during a two-day pause in a trial over claims the database maker broke a contract by discontinuing software for some Hewlett-Packard servers, a person familiar with the matter said.

The trial, which started June 4 in state court in San Jose, California, resumed today after it was put on hold for the last two days at the request of both companies, Rowena Walker, a court clerk, said in an e-mail.

Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg, who is overseeing the trial, last week encouraged the companies to work with another judge, Brian Walsh, who had presided over a mandatory settlement conference on May 22 that failed, said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because the talks were confidential.

The latest negotiations failed as well, the person said today.

In its 2011 complaint, Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest personal-computer maker, accused Oracle of violating a portion of former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd’s separation agreement describing a “reaffirmation of the Oracle-HP partnership.” One month after Hurd’s forced resignation in 2010, he was hired by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to serve as co-president of the largest database-software maker.

Hewlett-Packard, based in Palo Alto, California, seeks a court order requiring Oracle to continue developing software for its servers running on Intel Corp.’s Itanium chips, and about $500 million in damages.

Oracle, based in Redwood City, California, denies Hewlett-Packard’s claims, arguing that the two sentences at issue in the agreement don’t require Oracle to forfeit what software it can develop and what price it can charge.

Howard Clabo, a Hewlett-Packard spokesman, declined to comment on the trial delay. Deborah Hellinger, an Oracle spokeswoman, also declined to comment.

The case is Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Oracle Corp., 11-cv-203163, California Superior Court, Santa Clara County (San Jose).

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