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Slightly OT: SCO Unix gets smacked down again in court

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Open Source types will be cheering the latest from the continuing saga of SCO's attempt to "compete" through litigation...


The SCO Group, a struggling company with a loud campaign to profit from Unix intellectual property, has largely lost a case it brought against DaimlerChrysler.

In a hearing Wednesday, Judge Rae Lee Chabot of Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan granted most of DaimlerChrysler's motion to dismiss the case, SCO and DaimlerChrysler representatives said.


The loss doesn't set a precedent, but it does make it harder for SCO to pursue its overall case, said Mark Radcliffe, an intellectual-property attorney at Gray Cary. "The more that SCO is unsuccessful in its claims, the more it decreases their ability to go out and use the threat of litigation to obtain settlements," he said. "It diminishes their credibility."




SCO sued DaimlerChrysler in March, alleging that it hadn't certified its compliance with its SCO contract to use the System V version of the Unix operating system. In April, DaimlerChrysler provided the certification, saying it wasn't using the software at all anymore, then moved to dismiss the suit.


The case "for the most part, probably" is over, SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said.


"We're satisfied that DaimlerChrysler did finally certify their compliance with the software agreement, but we are still interested in gaining some information on why they didn't certify within the allotted time," Stowell said. The case "is not completely over yet, because the judge still held out the possibility that we could pursue trying to find out information from DaimlerChrysler on why they took so long to certify."


DaimlerChrysler released a statement: "We are pleased with the judge's ruling, and we look forward to finally resolving the one open issue."


SCO had alleged that DaimlerChrysler violated the Unix software agreement by refusing to certify that it was complying with the contract. DaimlerChrysler was required to certify that it was using the Unix software only on specific computer processors, according to the contract.


When SCO sued, DaimlerChrysler hadn't certified that it was in compliance with the agreement, but it had done so by the time it responded in April--saying it had completely stopped using the Unix software years earlier.


The judge's decision marks a significant setback in SCO's efforts to profit from its Unix intellectual property, often at the expense of Linux. Other setbacks include assertions by earlier Unix owner Novell that it still owns Unix copyrights; an almost complete failure in convincing Linux users to buy SCO intellectual-property licenses; a countersuit by IBM accusing SCO of patent infringement; and a partial stay in SCO's case against AutoZone, which argues that Linux infringes Unix copyrights.


"From the outside looking in, it seems like SCO is really getting beat around the head and shoulders at almost every turn," said John Ferrell, an attorney at Carr & Ferrell.


The legal troubles spill over into SCO's attempt to get Linux users to buy SCO intellectual-property licenses, Radcliffe said. "A year ago, everything was up in the air, nothing was certain, and SCO had a reasonable argument: 'Why don't you buy peace now, while it's cheap?' Now, basically, they haven't had any significant wins, they've had some losses, so I think that argument is gone," he said...


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Too bad they can't get Clearchannel's patent on recording live performances in front of these judges...


From what I've heard, though, ClearChan. intends to use the patent as a legal threat to anybody who wants to sell CDs of live performances on-site, but will do their utmost to keep it out of court (to avoid the very real danger of having their patent voided).

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