A federal judge overseeing the SCO case against IBM slammed SCO"s case, and said the company"s arguments were "puzzling". The announcement came in response to an IBM attempt to defang SCO"s claims.
Judge Kimball said yesterday that "Despite the vast disparity between SCO"s public accusations and its actual evidence--or complete lack thereof--and the resulting temptation to grant IBM"s motion, the court has determined that it would be premature to grant summary judgment." He continued, saying that "Viewed against the backdrop of SCO"s plethora of public statements concerning IBM"s and others" infringement of SCO"s purported copyrights to the Unix software, it is astonishing that SCO has not offered any competent evidence to create a disputed fact regarding whether IBM has infringed SCO"s alleged copyrights through IBM"s Linux activities."
SCO"s case, in light of this statement, looks in a poor situation. SCO are suing IBM for $5Bn worth of damages in relation to IBM"s involvement between Unix and Linux. SCO allege that IBM helped Linux by donating code, and in doing so infringed on agreements between the two companies. If IBM had won the partial summary judgment motion, analysts believe SCO"s case would have been almost dead.
If SCO"s case is so weak, why is the company proceeding with action? It"s unclear; however, If one were to take a cynical stance on the episode, one might conclude the following. Currently, Microsoft and SCO"s goals are on a similar track - the removal or minimization of Linux as an effective competition to their OS products. One of the by-products of this trial, and perhaps SCO"s main intention, was to create serious concerns in the business community about the Intellectual Property (IP) in the Linux code base.
Without a doubt, any firm with a concern that Linux contained infringing code would steer their IT department well away from it; thankfully for Linux vendors, the numbers would suggest that this has hasn"t happened in any serious way. However, it is a hindrance to Open Source vendors, and SCO"s case against IBM has raised enough attention to question Linux"s credibility in terms of IP. One might remember Microsoft"s cash injection into SCO; commentators at the time suggested that without it the case might have collapsed and SCO would have gone under due to lack of funding. Microsoft have today announced research regarding "Microsoft"s IP Indemnification " and how it "Minimizes End-User Financial and Legal Risk" for customers running Microsoft software.
The case continues.