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IBM drops SCO patent claims

Antony Savvas

IBM has dropped its three remaining counter-claims of patent infringement in a lawsuit against the SCO Group.

SCO originally sued IBM in March 2003 over claims it broke a Unix licensing contract by moving its main software development to Linux.

The case is still rumbling on, along with other cases alleging infringements to SCO’s Linux-related patents against Red Hat, Autozone and DaimlerChrysler.

IBM claimed it dropped its counter-claims because it said SCO’s sales were “limited”, so even if it won its case the proceeds from compensation based on sales would not cover legal expenses.

It now wants to concentrate on defending itself against SCO’s claims against it, which it says are unfounded. The other firms being sued by SCO are also defending their right to use the Linux operating system without paying royalties to SCO, which claims its patents were illegally used in Linux development.

The cost of its legal action against a host of suppliers and users has already forced SCO into the red, with the company making a loss in the last quarter. However, SCO says it has enough money to finance the actions.

Although SCO may be pleased to see IBM drop its counter-claims, it remains frustrated that the court dealing with the IBM case has stipulated SCO won’t be able to force IBM to produce thousands of documents showing how IBM’s developers around the world have handled Unix and Linux development.


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