Oracle wins ‘used’ software suit in Germany

A German court has ruled that the sale of used software licenses is illegal in a case involving an Oracle Corp. subsidiary, the Redwood Shores, California, company said in a statement.

The District Court of Munich ruled on Jan. 19 that usedSoft GmbH’s sale of used software licenses infringed upon copyrights held by Oracle International Corp., Oracle said. The company did not disclose whether the court had ordered damages to be paid.

Oracle hailed the court’s decision, saying it will put a stop to the practice of reselling software licenses in Germany, but the scope of the decision appears limited to the resale of software licenses that require a buyer to “create new copies via online downloads or install existing programs on additional workstations,” according to the statement.

In July 2000, the German Federal Supreme Court ruled that the first sale of a license for software on “tangible” media, such as a CD-ROM, limits the manufacturer’s right to restrict the resale of the media under certain conditions, Oracle said.

Oracle and usedSoft executives could not immediately be reached for comment.