Unix developer The SCO Group has filed a law suit against IBM, charging it with misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and other illegal actions related to IBM's Linux business. The suit seeks at least $1bn in damages.
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IBM obtained its Unix licence in 1985 from AT&T, which developed the operating system. In 1995 SCO purchased the rights and ownership of Unix and became the "successor in interest" to the Unix licences issued by AT&T to IBM, Hewlett-Packard and others.
In its suit filed yesterday, SCO alleged that IBM tried to destroy the economic value of Unix, particularly Unix on Intel-based servers, to benefit its Linux services business. It charged IBM with misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference, unfair competition and breach of contract.
SCO said it sent a letter to IBM demanding that it cease its allegedly anti-competitive practices. If IBM did not meet its demands within 100 days of receiving the letter, SCO said it has a right to revoke IBM's licence for the AIX Unix operating system.
IBM could not immediately be reached for comment yesterday.
SCO claimed to have been injured by IBM’s actions and has asked the court for damages of at least $1bn, with the amount to be proven at a trial.
SCO announced in January that it had hired a law firm to investigate possible violations of its intellectual property.
“SCO is in the enviable position of owning the Unix operating system,” said Darl McBride, SCO's president and chief executive officer, adding that SCO believed it had "a compelling case against IBM".
SCO said a copy of its complaint would be posted on its website.