SAP fired back Wednesday against a broadside Oracle CEO Larry Ellison leveled Tuesday at its former CEO Léo Apotheker, saying Ellison made a significant error in the heated missive.

Oracle is suing SAP over intellectual-property violations committed by its now-defunct TomorrowNow subsidiary, in a case set to go to trial next week.

Oracle charges that TomorrowNow workers used its software illegally to provide discount support services to Oracle applications users. SAP has acknowledged wrongdoing by TomorrowNow and agreed to accept liability for its actions, but maintains that SAP did not play a role.

Ellison issued a statement late Tuesday that said Apotheker, who is now CEO of Hewlett-Packard, "allowed the theft of Oracle's property to continue for 8 months after he was made sole CEO of SAP."

But Apotheker was named sole CEO of SAP on June 1, 2009, and TomorrowNow ceased operations as of 31 October, 2008, SAP said in a statement Wednesday.

However, it's not as if Apotheker was a low-level employee prior to June 1, 2009, having served since April 2008 as co-CEO along with Henning Kagermann.

An Oracle spokeswoman declined comment on Ellison's remarks. HP has called them an attempt to harass Apotheker.

Overall, the tit-for-tat spat over Apotheker's employment history with SAP is reflective of the acrimony that has marked the sprawling lawsuit, which Oracle first filed in March 2007.