Big Red sees red: Oracle sues over deployment of database-ware in AWS cloud

By Eric Johansson

Big Red’s lawyers are at it again. Fresh from having lost a copyright case against Google at the Supreme Court last month, Oracle now has its sights set on Envisage Technologies.

So why has the computer technology giant sued Envisage? The case essentially boils down to whether or not Envisage violated Big Red’s copyrights by running Oracle Database on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and selling that service to customers of its own.

Oracle and its lawyers at the Norton Law Firm alleged in in a complaint filed at a district court in California that Envisage’s licence does not cover its usage of the Oracle Database software.

While Big Red admitted in the complaint that Envisage bought a perpetual Database licence in 2006 for $8,500 that would enable the Indiana-based company to run the program on two processors through one account, Big Red added that Envisage has not updated its licence since.

This is problematic, according to Oracle, as Envisage now claims to help out over two million professionals with its services, which would require it to run the program on more than two processors. This, the solicitors at Norton Law Firm suggested, means that Envisage is also in breach of AWS’ terms and conditions that say that customers must have the appropriate licence.

“On information and belief, Envisage is using its unlicensed access to Oracle Database to obtain subscription revenue from its customers,” the complaint said.

The Austin, Texas-headquartered firm said the usage of its software had cost it $3m in licensing and annual support fees. The claim also alleged that Oracle is entitled to whatever profits Envisage has generated through its use of Oracle Database.

Big Red said it had attempted to engage with Envisage in March 2021 and asked “it to license the software it was using and pay for its past, unauthorised use.”

In April, Envisage notified Oracle that “absent a lawsuit” it would not continue the talks.

The news comes as Oracle is seemingly ramping up its efforts to clamp down on perceived infringements of its licensing, according to The Register.

The publication also noted that the court filings noted that Envisage has promised customers that they can use the latest Oracle technology, which it does not hold any licence for. While Austin is unable to action the alleged misrepresentation itself, Envisage could face a potential class action case from customers.

Oracle – together with Facebook and Microsoft – was among the potential F5 Networks clients who could’ve been affected by cybersecurity vulnerabilities in BIG-IP and BIG-IQ earlier this year.

In March, the US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency urged everyone using F5 Networks’ solutions to immediately patch their software in March or run the risk of being hacked.