SAP is in a fresh legal entanglement less than a week before it heads to court over intellectual property charges by Oracle, but the new case has to do with marketing, not third-party support for ERP (enterprise resource planning) software.
Content management and document imaging software vendor Laserfiche has filed suit against SAP, claiming the vendor has illegally used the phrase "Run Smarter," for which Laserfiche holds a U.S. trademark.
"In an effort to exploit and improperly trade on Laserfiche's goodwill, SAP has deliberately and unlawfully appropriated Laserfiche's trademark rights," states the complaint filed Oct. 19 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
SAP has used the Run Smarter phrase in advertisements "too numerous to list," it adds. Laserfiche has used the phrase in its own materials since at least October 2004, according to the complaint.
Moreover, SAP "knew that Laserfiche was the owner of the Run Smarter trademark and ... knew about the considerable commercial success of Laserfiche's software business," it states. Laserfiche was founded in 1987 and now has 28,000 customers.
SAP used the trademark in an effort to trick customers into believing its software was somehow associated with Laserfiche, it adds.
SAP only recently became aware of Laserfiche's suit, and its attorneys are evaluating the claims, said spokesman Andy Kendzie.
The Long Beach, California, company is demanding unspecified monetary damages and a judgment barring SAP from using the phrase.
Laserfiche also wants SAP to "deliver up to Laserfiche for destruction" any marketing materials bearing the phrase or "confusingly similar variations."
Depending on the outcome of the case, that could spell trouble for an SAP marketing website that riffs on the theme of "Run Better." It contains a series of customer case studies, each tagged with variations such as "Run Cooler," "Run Greener," and "Run Yummier."
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com