Judge Slaps Down SCOs DaimlerChrysler Suit

 
 
By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2004-07-21 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A judge dismisses all of SCO's claims in the case except a minor one regarding tardiness—but SCO says its other cases are "very different" and won't be affected.

SCO suffered its first major defeat Wednesday in its legal wars against Linux-using companies, when DaimlerChrysler was granted all of the important points in its motion to dismiss SCOs case. Judge Rae Lee Chabot of Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan all but dismissed The SCO Group Inc.s case after a hearing, which, according to at least one eyewitness, took only about 20 minutes. The judge ruled, according to the witnesss account, that "Summary disposition is granted except on the matter of breach of section 2.05, in that DaimlerChrysler did not submit its response in a timely manner. All other claims were dismissed."
The only thread of hope Lindon, Utah-based SCO has if it decides to pursue the case in this court is to seek damages for DaimlerChryslers delaying its response to SCOs demands.
SCO had been arguing that automobile powerhouse DaimlerChrysler AG, as a licensee of Unix System V source code, had refused SCOs request to certify that the Unix source code was protected so that none of it could have been stolen away into Linux. DaimlerChrysler was only one of about 1,500 companies with Unix licenses that SCO sent letters to in December 2003, demanding that they show compliance in safeguarding the Unix source code within 30 days. DaimlerChrysler eventually did this, but took 110 days to do so. At the time that SCO filed its case, SCO CEO Darl McBride said, "SCO had alerted DaimlerChrysler in December of last year [2003] that they needed to certify their code, but DaimlerChrysler did not respond." Further, he said that for SCO, the action was simply a matter of "protecting its contract and copyright rights."
McBride also made it clear then that SCO was not accusing DaimlerChrysler of actually sharing the code with Linux developers, but rather that DaimlerChrysler had not certified that the System V code was properly protected as per its agreement with AT&T and its successor to Unixs IP (intellectual property) rights, SCO. DaimlerChrysler struck back against SCO in April with its just-granted motion to dismiss. The automobile maker categorically denied almost all of SCOs claims against it. Moreover, DaimlerChrysler contended that SCO wasnt a party to its Unix license agreements, "and therefore the plaintiff may lack standing to sue." In addition, DaimlerChrysler said SCO lacks any standing to sue it because Novell has expressly requested that SCO waive any rights it might have to enforce this Unix license. But in the actual case, since DaimlerChrysler did certify that it had kept its Unix source code safe, most of these points were moot. Read more here about Novells legal battle with SCO. Many of SCOs points also were moot, since its case was founded not on DaimlerChrysler actually contributing Unix code to Linux, but on the possibility that Unix source code had not been safely kept. "The outcome of the case wasnt unexpected, since they finally did certify, so the main point of the lawsuit was now moot," said Blake Stowell, director of communications at SCO. "Were glad that DaimlerChrysler finally certified the software agreement that they entered into and sorry that they waited until after we had filed litigation against them." Next Page: SCOs Stowell says its cases "may appear similar but are actually very different."



 
 
 
 
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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