IBM Widens Net in SCO Subpoena Search

Still in the discovery phase, IBM is looking for evidence from Intel, Target, Sherwin-Williams, Oracle, Auto Zone and Computer Associates for its Unix/Linux and contractual cases against SCO.

IBM has started a round of depositions aimed at gleaning as much information as possible about the contents of communications between The SCO Group and its business partners.

A subpoena for one such deposition was served on Intel Corp. for a deposition to be held Wednesday at a Marriott hotel in Santa Clara, Calif.

This is the latest in a series of moves between The SCO Group Inc. and IBM in their ongoing struggle over whether IBM placed SCOs copyrighted Unix code in Linux, and other contractual matters dating back to the two companies failed partnership to produce a Unix for both the POWER and Intel chip families, Project Monterrey.

The subpoenas require the companies to provide employees with detailed knowledge of SCOs involvement with IBM, Linux or Unix for examination.

According to a SCO spokesperson, other companies receiving similar subpoenas include Target Corp., The Sherwin-Williams Co., Oracle Corp., Auto Zone Inc. and Computer Associates International Inc.

This kind of subpoena is called a Rule 30(b)(6) subpoena. According to attorney Andrew Greenwald, from the well-known, Washington, D.C.-area firm of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, this type of subpoena is used to compel a company to produce a subject-matter expert to testify on the facts that the party requesting the deposition believes it needs in the case.

Greenwald said that while he cant say for certain the motivation for the subpoena in this case, a typical reason for a subpoena could be to overcome contractual restrictions, such as those contained in an NDA (nondisclosure agreement).

A source close to the process who requested anonymity to avoid adverse job actions told that the companies involved had NDAs with SCO. The first of the subpoenas in the current series was issued Jan. 19. Attempts to gain additional information in regards to the information being sought in the depositions were unsuccessful.

In addition, the Intel subpoena calls for the company to turn over "all documents with SCO and/or Canopy concerning IBM, Unix or Linux," including minutes of any meetings, contracts and documents concerning "business relations (past, present, or prospective) between Intel and SCO."

The aforementioned source said it is believed that the subpoenas to the other companies cover the same ground as the Intel subpoena. Calls to Computer Associates, IBM and Oracle were not returned before this story was published.

The Canopy Group is SCOs parent company and main stockholder. This company, which like SCO is based in Lindon, Utah, is having its own problems: Its former management team is suing Canopy for wrongful dismissal, while the companys current management is countersuing on a variety of grounds.


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