The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Oracle’s final appeal.

The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Oracle’s appeal to overturn a ruling ordering the IT giant to pay $3 billion in damages for violating a decades-old contract agreement.

As reported in The Register, the story goes back to June 2011, when HPE had not yet split from HP. That company sued Oracle for refusing to add Itanium support to its database software. HP alleged Oracle had violated a contract agreement by not doing so. But Oracle claimed it explicitly refused requests to support Intel’s Itanium processors at the time.

A lengthy legal battle ensued. Oracle was ordered to cough up $3 billion in damages in a jury trial, and appealed the decision all the way to the highest judges in America. Now, the Supreme Court has declined its petition.

What underlies the suit

The entire disagreement rests on the interpretation of an agreement made between Oracle and HP when Oracle hired HP’s former CEO, the late Mark Hurd. That agreement acknowledged both companies had a “longstanding strategic relationship” and a “mutual desire to continue to support their mutual customers.” Oracle had said it “will continue to offer its product suite on HP platforms” while HP promised it “will continue to support Oracle products (including Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM) on its hardware.”

Oracle, however, claimed that HP had unfairly forced it to support the PC maker’s Itanium systems on a long-term basis while secretly knowing that Intel was no longer committed to its Itanium line of processors. When Oracle found out the Itanic was to be discontinued, it declared it would no longer support the hardware. HP sued and won. The total damages awarded is a very high sum indeed, and Oracle argued the full amount wasn’t fair. 

Oracle made the same arguments in its petitions to the lower courts, the courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court of California before the Supreme Court of the United States denied it. This latest rejection from the highest US court leaves Oracle no other option. The lawsuit has reached its final conclusion, and Oracle will have to pay HPE $3 billion.

Also read: Oracle’s cloud journey: From Gen 2 to Gen O