Compelling Argument

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2004-06-22 Print this article Print

Glenn Peterson, an intellectual property attorney and a shareholder with the Sacramento, Calif.-based law firm McDonough Holland & Allen PC, said AutoZone is smart to base its argument on SCOs words. "AutoZone makes a very compelling argument for a stay of this case and has forged its strongest argument from SCOs own words, quoted from SCOs briefs in the Red Hat case where they argue, conversely, in favor of a stay," Peterson said. "SCOs argument in favor of a stay of the Red Hat case but at the same time against a stay of the AutoZone case is very damaging to their credibility.

"As AutoZone wryly states, how can SCO contend that there is no doubt that the IBM case will resolve threshold issues in the Red Hat case yet deny the same in this case ... [especially] in light of the fact that SCOs claims against AutoZone relate to AutoZones use of a version of Linux that AutoZone obtained from Red Hat.
"Thus, SCO supports a stay of the case against the main Linux distributor but opposes the stay against that same distributors customer. The position taken by SCO in the Red Hat lawsuit does not harmonize at all with its position against AutoZone. In fact, it harmonizes about as well as fingernails on a chalkboard," Peterson said.

Nevertheless, he said, "Whether or not to stay a lawsuit depends heavily on the discretion of the judge, so there is really no such thing as a slam dunk on these motions. That said, AutoZones arguments are so compelling that it should be at least an uncontested layup."

SCO had no comment on AutoZone request to stay its case. But in court, according to the request for a stay, "SCOs principal argument in opposition to AutoZones motion is that it will suffer irreparable harm if the case is stayed."

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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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