Home > IBM > IBM Drops Patent Suit Against SCO IBM Drops Patent Suit Against SCO Submitted by Yves R. Crevecoeur 2005-10-08 IBM 27 Comments IBM has dropped its three remaining claims of patent infringement in a lawsuit against the SCO Group, which originally sued Big Blue in March 2003 over claims it broke a Unix licensing contract by moving technology to Linux. About The Author 27 Comments 2005-10-08 9:31 am butters The rationale is to expedite these proceedings. IBM determined that the prospects of winning or settling this counterclaim are greatly overshadowed by the time/money spent in arguing them. They want to get this over with already. SCO will have almost no assets when this is said and done with, so IBM has nothing to gain. SCO requested the right to do 25 more depositions and get more time in discovery because of IBM’s counterclaims, so IBM just called their bluff and dropped the counterclaims. No more stalling for SCO. IBM is still reserving the rights to sue over SCO breach of the GPL and other possible avenues for litigation. 2005-10-08 2:20 pm Who is That well lets hope sco is left out in the cold and that they are ripe for the pickings. then IBM can buy them and release all the unix code as free software. 2005-10-08 2:24 pm Anonymous doesn’t novell own that 2005-10-08 3:07 pm Anonymous “…then IBM can buy them and release all the unix code as free software…” IBM has never in history purchased a company as a result of a law suite. I beLIEve this is what many investors were ‘going’ for, but it will never happen. IBM traditionally dragges companies through the mud. Otherwise, any company with a few million in the bank would sue IBM in hope of being bought out. 2005-10-08 3:45 pm Who is That I was pointing to the fact that SCO has IP that is valuable and is not a worthless company because they went broke on this suit. 2005-10-08 4:29 pm Anonymous I was pointing to the fact that SCO has IP that is valuable and is not a worthless company because they went broke on this suit. That IP’s ownership is in dispute with Novell. Even if SCO is found to own the copyrights (looks unlikely), it would own very few. Much of Unix came from BSD, and most of the Unix that went into BSD is no longer protectable. Also, other companies, such as Sun, own copyrights over SYSV. In other words…open sourcing Unix, like you said in your last comment, isn’t going to happen, excluding the code already in BSD. 2005-10-08 5:00 pm Anonymous What “IP that is valuable”? SCO bought a distributorship for UNIX from Novell. They own any changes that they’ve made since, but not the original code. Even the ownership of the original UNIX code is in doubt; see the BSD lawsuit for details. AT&T and Novell collected rent for UNIX because everyone knew that it was cheaper to pay than to go to court and sort out who owns what. SCO also owns the Vultus products, but they’ve written that purchase off. So either that IP is worthless, or they lied to the SEC. The old SCO had good sales channels, which is why Caldera bought that part of SCO. Existing customers could continue the UNIX business while it was gradually replaced with Linux. But the new management killed the Linux business and scared the hell out of the old UNIX customers, who are ALL at least making transition plans now. Many have already moved on, some have been sued by TSG, making it an obvious no-brainer that this is a company that it is dangerous to do business with. Where are the SCO patents? Where are the SCO copyrights? For that matter, where is the evidence to support SCO’s charges? 2005-10-08 5:48 pm Anonymous To be fair Caldera, currently dba The SCO Group, does own UnixWare and all, if any, improvements made to it and the actual Unix codebase. The value of these things is debatable since their market share has shrunk down to near nothing and their improvements to the above are very near that same quantity and value. On top of that they have further diminished the value of the mark by suing their customers and former customers and losing to them, either in effect or in actuality, thus making themselves the equivalent of mad dogs within their market space. So, true, they are not a worthless company because they went broke in this lawsuit. They are a worthless company because they failed to add value to their products, initiated what appear to be frivolous or actually abusive lawsuits in pursuit of unearned wealth and have driven away their existing customers and most likely any new customers. None of which adds any value to their [presumed] IP. This is a sad end to what was once one of the most stable and small business-friendly Unix distributions. They do own the IP behind their “new” Me Inc (no period after Inc, since that would be illegal in many states) product which is a thin client front end to terminal based processes running on servers. This valuable IP was written down to zero shortly after they acquired it and is now being touted as a next great thing even though several other companies are way ahead of them in this space and still aren’t making much money or getting much market penetration with it. 2005-10-08 8:24 pm rm6990 To be fair Caldera, currently dba The SCO Group, does own UnixWare and all, if any, improvements made to it and the actual Unix codebase. The value of these things is debatable since their market share has shrunk down to near nothing and their improvements to the above are very near that same quantity and value. Where is the Section 204(a) Copyright Transfer from Novell to Santa Cruz assigning them the copyrights to Unixware? Like SYSV, we have not seen one yet, and tSCOg has not presented one. If that isn’t enough, where is the copyright transfer from Santa Cruz to tSCOg? tSCOg did NOT aquire Santa Cruz, they just purchased some assets from Santa Cruz. Because of this, copyrights again would have to be explicitly transfered using a note of conveyance, something tSCOg hasn’t been able to show. tSCOg has yet to show that they have any ownership interest in any code that they themselves did not write after aquiring Santa Cruz’s Unix assets in 2001/2002. In-fact, Judge Dale Kimball (the same one residing over the IBM case) didn’t dismiss the SCO case against Novell because he felt that even though SCO had not presented a single piece of evidence that showed copyrights had been transfered, that they may be able to find one through discovery. He expressed serious doubts that based on the evidence he had seen thus far, that ANY copyrights had been transfered at all. As for the people spouting off about patents in this case on this forum, take a good look at all of the “patents SCO owns” over at http://www.uspto.gov. As you will see, they own one single patent, which has absolutely nothing to do with an Operating System Kernel. 2005-10-08 5:47 pm Anonymous sun already released UNIX as open source….. Solaris. Sun owns the equivilent of unix ownership 2005-10-08 9:34 am Anonymous Right, the countersuit was meant from day one as PR, there’s no actual value in persuing it, they got the headlines, no sense in throwing time and money after it now. 2005-10-08 4:33 pm Anonymous Right, the countersuit was meant from day one as PR, there’s no actual value in persuing it, they got the headlines, no sense in throwing time and money after it now Ummm, hello people. IBM didn’t drop their whole countersuit. They dropped their patent countersuit. They still have counterclaims for Breach of Contract, Copyright Infringement, Lanham Act Violations, Tortious Interference with Business Partners and numerous others. These are still going to be litigated, it is simply the patent counterclaims that are being dropped. IBM would be completely f–king mad to drop all of their counterclaims. The entire reason they counterclaimed is so that no company like SCO ever tries this against IBM again. Plus, their 10th and 9th counterclaims are important, as they ask for a declaration that Linux and AIX don’t infringe SCO’s copyrights. Could you people read the article please before making stupid comments? Is it really so much to ask? 2005-10-08 8:08 pm Anonymous The patent counterclaims by IBM were tactical nuclear weapons not PR. They don’t need a sledgehammer to crack a nut at the moment, so the patent counterclaims were dropped. What IBM was saying was we have patents on everything – sue us and we will bury you. 2005-10-08 10:50 am gonzalo I guess it’s a nice touch adding the part that says: “and anyway you don’t have a dime and your sales are ridiculous, SCO, so it’s not even worth our effort”. 2005-10-08 1:37 pm dylansmrjones …pretty much. Even the judge has lost her patience with SCO… all we’re waiting for is SCO to die completely… 2005-10-08 4:53 pm Jody Even the judge has lost her patience with SCO… all we’re waiting for is SCO to die completely… They are still in discovery becasue SCO keeps sending IBM on wild good chases to look for “evidence”. How long can it possibly take to check the souce code IBM provided (or Linux itself) against proprietary UNIX code to see if they share code base? I say at best a couple days, not years. This judge defines patience, and in my opinion is sympothetic to SCO. This case I am sure has cost IBM millions of dollars in legal fees and man hours on SCO witch hunts. The judge is not helping anyone but the lawyers by allowing these antics to continue. 2005-10-08 5:13 pm Anonymous I say at best a couple days, not years. This judge defines patience, and in my opinion is sympothetic to SCO. …um… There are millions of lines of code here. in thousands of source files. A couple of days? And even if you check it by diffing it, that is going to produce a lot of noise to weed through. 2005-10-08 10:29 pm Anonymous “How long can it possibly take to check the souce code IBM provided (or Linux itself) against proprietary UNIX code to see if they share code base? ” Remember that we are talking about non-literal copying. So they cannot do a quick test with a code-comparing tool. With the help of all the MIT rocketscientists (and/or deepdivers) in the world, SCO will prove their theory in time. Pigs do fly. (no – I am not serious) 2005-10-08 11:23 pm dylansmrjones You haven’t followed the trial that close then. Look at the newest development in that case [check up on groklaw!] The judge has no more patience with SCO. The judge is not allowing it to happen more (at least not at the moment). 2005-10-08 1:41 pm DoctorPepper Set up a “SCO Deathwatch” site. It could be called: http://www.diescodie.org 🙂 2005-10-08 4:34 pm rm6990 Last two comments that had this IP address were mine (forgot to log in) 2005-10-08 5:27 pm Anonymous You would have to read and understand every module (ok c does not do modules) and compare how it works, not what it looks like, with all the things you believe you have on your list of patented code. That could take months or years and you still might miss something. It would only be easy if large chunks of Linux source have been written using our old friends CUT&PASTE. 2005-10-08 6:32 pm Anonymous You would have to read and understand every module (ok c does not do modules) and compare how it works, not what it looks like, with all the things you believe you have on your list of patented code. No patents are involved in the suit. Only copyrights that they don’t appear to own and “protected” methods and concepts. That could take months or years and you still might miss something. SCO did a review of the Linux code looking for infringement in 1999 and found nothing. They also appear to have done a dead man’s walk-through or “spectral analysis” of both code bases and found code that didn’t belong to them and claimed at SCO Forum that was their proof of infringement. This appears to be based on a code comparator that has been submitted for patenting. But Caldera, after speaking about their team of MIT rocket scientists, can’t identify them or present the findings that are described in the patent application. None of that was presented to the court as evidence and IBM is still asking as of the hearing yesterday for Caldera to explain what this case is about. IBM hired a well established expert to do the analysis and he found nothing infringing. Dr. Kernighan has also opined that this is an unfounded allegation on Caldera’s part. It would only be easy if large chunks of Linux source have been written using our old friends CUT&PASTE. And cut and paste would be a copyright violation. It would be easier to cut and paste Windows code into OS/2, or vice versa, since those two are more closely related than Linux and Unix, having started out from a common code base, which Unix and Linux didn’t. 2005-10-10 3:31 am Anonymous Windows and OS/2 started out from a common code base? Source for this information? 2005-10-10 7:50 am dylansmrjones It’s true alright. Windows was meant to be OS/2 3.0 and NTFS has HPFS code in it. 2005-10-09 6:09 am melgross The concept behind a countersuit is to tell the other party that even if they win their part, they might very lose the other part. Often this will influence the first party that it will be too expensive and time consuming to continue the suit, and they will settle. IBM dropped the patent claims not just to finish earlier, though that was part of it, but also because a countersuit drains the opposing company. As SCO had made a deal with Boise (Spelling?) awhile ago where they would cap their fees in exchange for stock, that would no longer happen. IBM most likely smells blood at this time and sees no point in spending perhaps $4 to 6 million on patent cases that no longer matter. My wife (who is an attorney and senior vice president at Citicorp), laughed when I told her that IBM said that SCO was too small to give them enough money from the patent case to have it matter. She thought that IBM did well putting it that way. 2005-10-09 12:49 pm Anonymous “sun already released UNIX as open source….. Solaris. Sun owns the equivilent of unix ownership” Not that this is particularly related to the actual topic… The Solaris 10 code that was released IS NOT UNIX, they delayed it so long because they had to avoid releasing anything that would displease SCO. While its true that AT&T and Sun worked together on SysV, as far as I know, they have no patents related to it. These are all filed as being owned by Novell today. In fact, if Sun owns UNIX, why then are they one of the companies leasing rights to UNIX from SCO? Doesn’t make much sense right?