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(23) Litigation and Claims

We are subject to a variety of claims and lawsuits that arise from time to time in the ordinary course of our business, including proceedings and claims that relate to companies we have acquired, claims that relate to customers demanding indemnification for proceedings initiated against them based on their use of SAP software, and claims that relate to customers being dissatisfied with the products and services that we have delivered to them. We will continue to vigorously defend against all claims and lawsuits against us. We currently believe that resolving the claims and lawsuits pending as of December 31, 2016, will neither individually nor in the aggregate have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, profit, or cash flows. Consequently, the provisions recorded for these claims and lawsuits as of December 31, 2016, are neither individually nor in the aggregate material to SAP.

However, the outcome of litigation and claims is intrinsically subject to considerable uncertainty. Management’s view of the litigation may also change in the future. Actual outcomes of litigation and claims may differ from the assessments made by management in prior periods, which could result in a material impact on our business, financial position, profit, cash flows, or reputation. Most of the lawsuits and claims are of a very individual nature and claims are either not quantified by the claimants or claim amounts quantified are, based on historical evidence, not expected to be a good proxy for the expenditure that would be required to settle the case concerned. The specifics of the jurisdictions where most of the claims are located further impair the predictability of the outcome of the cases. Therefore, it is not practicable to reliably estimate the financial effect that these lawsuits and claims would have if SAP were to incur expenditure for these cases.

Among the claims and lawsuits are the following classes:

Intellectual Property-Related Litigation and Claims

Intellectual property-related litigation and claims are cases in which third parties have threatened or initiated litigation claiming that SAP violates one or more intellectual property rights that they possess. Such intellectual property rights may include patents, copyrights, and other similar rights.

The carrying amount of the provisions recognized for intellectual property-related litigation and claims and the change in the carrying amount in the reporting period are disclosed in Note (18b). The expected timing of any resulting outflows of economic benefits from these lawsuits and claims is uncertain and not estimable as it depends generally on the duration of the legal proceedings and settlement negotiations required to resolve them. Uncertainties about the amounts result primarily from the unpredictability of the outcomes of legal disputes in several jurisdictions. For more information, see Note (3c).

Contingent liabilities exist from intellectual property-related litigation and claims for which no provision has been recognized. Generally, it is not practicable to estimate the financial impact of these contingent liabilities due to the uncertainties around the litigation and claims, as outlined above. The total amounts claimed by plaintiffs in those intellectual property-related lawsuits or claims in which a claim has been quantified were not material to us as of December 31, 2016 and 2015. Based on our past experience, most of the intellectual property-related litigation and claims tend to be either dismissed in court or settled out of court for amounts significantly below the originally claimed amounts and not material to our consolidated financial statements.

Individual cases of intellectual property-related litigation and claims include the following:

In February 2010, United States-based TecSec, Inc. (TecSec) instituted legal proceedings in the United States against SAP (including its subsidiary Sybase) and many other defendants. TecSec alleged that SAP’s and Sybase’s products infringe one or more of the claims in five patents held by TecSec. In its complaint, TecSec seeks unspecified monetary damages and permanent injunctive relief. The lawsuit is proceeding but only with respect to one defendant. The trial for SAP (including its subsidiary Sybase) has not yet been scheduled – the lawsuit for SAP (including its subsidiary Sybase) remains stayed.

In April 2010, SAP instituted legal proceedings (a declaratory judgment action) in the United States against Wellogix, Inc. and Wellogix Technology Licensing, LLC (Wellogix). The lawsuit sought a declaratory judgment that six patents owned by Wellogix were invalid or not infringed by SAP. The legal proceedings were stayed pending the outcome of six reexaminations filed by SAP with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In response to SAP’s patent Declaratory Judgment action, Wellogix re-asserted trade secret misappropriation claims against SAP. The court granted SAP’s motion to dismiss based on improper venue for litigating the trade secret claims in the U.S. and Wellogix appealed that decision. In February 2015, SAP filed a declaratory judgment action in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, asking the German court to rule that SAP did not misappropriate any Wellogix trade secrets. In early 2016, the appeals court rejected Wellogix’s appeal. In mid-2016, SAP’s patent declaratory judgment and reexaminations resulted in a final judgment invalidating all of Wellogix’s six asserted patents and the litigation was dismissed. The German trade secrets litigation remains pending.

Customer-Related Litigation and Claims

Customer-related litigation and claims include cases in which we indemnify our customers against liabilities arising from a claim that our products infringe a third party’s patent, copyright, trade secret, or other proprietary rights. Occasionally, consulting or software implementation projects result in disputes with customers. Where customers are dissatisfied with the products and services that we have delivered to them in routine consulting contracts or development arrangements, we may grant functions or performance guarantees.

The carrying amount of the provisions recorded for customer-related litigation and claims and the development of the carrying amount in the reporting period are disclosed in Note (18b). The expected timing or amounts of any resulting outflows of economic benefits from these lawsuits and claims is uncertain and not estimable as they generally depend on the duration of the legal proceedings and settlement negotiations required to resolve the litigation and claims and the unpredictability of the outcomes of legal disputes in several jurisdictions. For more information, see Note (3c).

Contingent liabilities exist from customer-related litigation and claims for which no provision has been recognized. Generally, it is not practicable to estimate the financial impact of these contingent liabilities due to the uncertainties around these lawsuits and claims outlined above.

Tax-Related Litigation and Claims

We are subject to ongoing audits by domestic and foreign tax authorities. In respect of non-income taxes, we, like many other companies operating in Brazil, are involved in various proceedings with Brazilian tax authorities regarding assessments and litigation matters on intercompany royalty payments and intercompany services. The total potential amount in dispute related to these matters for all applicable years is approximately €106 million (2015: €75 million). We have not recorded a provision for these matters, as we believe that we will prevail.

For information about income tax-related litigation, see Note (10).

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