SCO moves to dismiss Red Hat lawsuit

The SCO Group has asked a US court to dismiss a legal action against it by Red Hat. The move is the latest round of its legal...

The SCO Group has asked a US court to dismiss a legal action against it by Red Hat. The move is the latest round of its legal fight over Linux.

In its motion filed in the US District Court in Delaware, SCO contends that Red Hat's grounds for its lawsuit are baseless, in part because Red Hat is seeking to defend its open-source Linux operating system against a non-existent legal challenge from SCO.

"Red Hat's legal action does nothing more than seek general guidance for the marketplace as to the legal rights SCO has with respect to Linux software," the company said in its motion to the court. "This is an impermissible use of the Declaratory Judgment Act."

Unix developer SCO launched a legal battle against IBM in March with a lawsuit seeking at least $1bn in damages, claiming that IBM had illegally used the Unix operating system, owned by SCO, to build its Linux software source code.

IBM strongly denied the charges in a countersuit, saying it had not misappropriated any trade secrets, engaged in unfair competition, interfered with SCO's Unix contracts or breached any contractual obligations to SCO.

In August, Red Hat filed a formal complaint asserting that its technologies do not infringe on SCO's intellectual property and accusing SCO of attempting to discredit Linux and harm those promoting the free open-source software.

Red Hat's suit asked for a declaratory judgment from the district court that would rule SCO's claims regarding copyright infringement as untrue, while also asking the court to hold SCO accountable for "unfair and deceptive actions".

In Monday's motion for dismissal, SCO said Red Hat was not defending itself against legal action - because SCO has not filed any lawsuit against Red Hat - but rather was trying to defend itself against SCO actions that are, in themselves, protected by law, including the First Amendment.

"Red Hat's real motive for filing suit against SCO was to somehow vindicate the entire Linux industry," SCO contends in the motion.

A spokesman for SCO said its move was simply a logical response to an unwarranted lawsuit. "We're just denying the things that Red Hat has claimed in its complaint," said Blake Stowell, a SCO spokesman on Monday.

"We've never publicly stated that we planned to sue Red Hat or threatened to sue Red Hat… it's never been our intention to sue Red Hat and we have no plans to do that."

Representatives from Red Hat could not be immediately reached for comment.

Laura Rohde writes for IDG News Service

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