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SAP goes after world’s largest brewing company in $600m licence dispute

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Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev has revealed in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing that SAP is seeking $600m in compensation for unlicensed use of its software.

Anheuser-Busch InBev is one of the world’s largest brewing companies, with beer brands including Budweiser, Stella Artois, Beck’s, Leffe, Hoegaarden and Michelob.

On page 154 of the 544-page 20F SEC filing, the company stated: “On 21 February 2017, SAP America Inc (SAP) commenced an arbitration in New York against Anheuser-Busch Companies LLC pursuant to the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association. The statement of claim asserts multiple breaches of a 30 September 2010 software licence agreement (together with related amendments and ancillary documents, the SLA) based on allegations that company employees used SAP systems and data – directly and indirectly – without appropriate licences, and that the company underpaid fees due under the SLA. The statement of claim seeks both reformation of the SLA in certain respects and also damages potentially in excess of $600m. We intend to defend against SAP’s asserted claims vigorously.”

The revelation comes just weeks after the High Court in London ruled in favour of SAP and against Diageo in an indirect licensing case concerning the use of mySAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software on a Salesforce platform.

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