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IBM The Courts Linux

SCO vs. IBM Trial Back On Again 232

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-just-goes-on-and-on-my-friends dept.
D___Breath writes "The lawsuit SCO started years ago against IBM (but really against Linux) is back on again. SCO first filed this clue-challenged lawsuit in March 2003. SCO claimed Linux was contaminated with code IBM stole from UNIX and that it was impossible to remove the infringement. Therefore, said SCO, all Linux users owe SCO a license fee of $1399 per cpu — but since SCO are such great guys, for a limited time, you can pay only $699 per CPU for your dirty, infringing copy of Linux. Of course, Novell claimed and later proved in court that SCO doesn't even own the copyrights on UNIX that it is suing over. IBM claims there is no infringing code in Linux. SCO never provided evidence of the massive infringement it claimed existed. The court ordered SCO three times to produce its evidence, twice extending the deadline, until it set a 'final' deadline of Dec 22, 2005 — which came and went — with SCO producing nothing but a lot of hand waving. In the meantime, SCO filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2007 because it was being beaten up in court so badly with the court going against SCO."
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SCO vs. IBM Trial Back On Again

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  • Apparently (Score:5, Funny)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:38PM (#39075603)

    nuking from orbit IS the only way to be sure...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:39PM (#39075605)

    Clearly, Zombies are *incredibly* hard to kill.

  • by chipperdog (169552) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:40PM (#39075629) Homepage
    Can't IBM make a statute of limitations claim, otherwise SCO can just keep backing off and then bringing this up again and again
    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:47PM (#39075719)

      At this point, if I were IBM I would be looking into hiring mercenaries to eliminate the problem. The courts might even chip in to help.

      • by doconnor (134648) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:51PM (#39075763) Homepage

        It would be cheaper for IBM just to buy SCO. Since they are in bankruptcy protection they can't turn down a responsible offer.

        • by rwise2112 (648849) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:55PM (#39075851)
          Maybe that's what they're after.
        • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:04PM (#39075961)
          Yes but this was SCO's plan all along. At this point IBM is pissed enough that they want to grind SCO to dust rather than purchase them. Also buying SCO also means buying SCO's liabilities which include numerous lawsuits. (This was the one aspect SCO forgot in that when they bought Santa Cruz's business they also bought Santa Cruz's liabilities to Novell). Really SCO has no assets IBM wants.
          • by idontgno (624372) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:11PM (#39076059) Journal
            Yes. IBM's end goal involves salting earth, poisoning wells, and the lamentation of women. And frankly, that's better than Darl deserves.
            • by gtall (79522)

              Errr...Darl was sacked long ago. I forget who's running the show, but they have worth now, last I read on Groklaw.

              • by idontgno (624372)
                Darl may have successfully disentangled himself from that abortion of an ill-advised lawsuit, but I still think he should be eligible for every fiendish punishment IBM's legal specialists can think of. The only variation would be the "lamentation" bit, because I don't think any dire fate he could suffer would cause a wink of lamentation from anyone.
                • by Xtifr (1323)

                  Darl was just a hired gun all along, brought in by the real villains of the piece who have been doing their best to hide behind the curtain of the corporate veil, but almost certainly include Ralph Yarro as a (if not the) real mastermind. The fact that Canopy told Yarro to go away and take The SCO Group with him is pretty strong (albeit circumstantial) evidence that Yarro is deeply involved in the whole plot.

                  Darl just did what he was paid to do. Sure, he shouldn't get off scott-free, but trying to paint h

          • The plan made sense when SCO was actually worth something. Now it's basically worthless, other than it's highly dubious claims against IBM. It looks more to me like IBM is trying to get a court to squash the case once and for all.

        • by jythie (914043) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:21PM (#39076183)
          I think at this point a 'reasonable offer' would be a bag of corn nuts. At least then their VC parters would get a snack out of the deal.
        • by stoicfaux (466273) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:24PM (#39076223)

          IBM buying SCO would be a win for SCO's backers. They would point at the purchase and say, "How nefarious! IBM had to buy SCO to cover up IBM's perfidy and malfeasance! Linux really does infringe and contains tainted code! Open Source is Teh Evil!"

        • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:24PM (#39076237)
          They can claim the value of the pending legal action against IBM is $1 trillion dollars if they want to resist a buy-out. Unlike other people who replied here, I don't think SCO wants a buy-out, I don't think they're in this for the money. I mean, they're in it for the money, but they're in it for the massive cash M$ already paid them, and in exchange for that, they are providing FUD. If they let IBM buy them, they will have no FUD left to sell.

          Incidentally, the rumor mill says this sort of thing has happened before - a supposedly infringing company that would rather just buy the company who's IP they're infringing, but can not afford to buy that company for the sole reason that the perceived value of the lawsuit against them makes the company unaffordable. A higher offer simply provides evidence that the lawsuit is worth that much more. Supposedly Steve Jobs tried to just buy Apple Corps, and offered more than anyone thought the perpetual rights to the Beatles catalog is worth, but that wasn't enough because they wanted the value of the Beatles catalog plus the value of the lawsuit against Apple... and the lawsuit against Apple was worth at least any offer Jobs would make for Apple Corps...
        • I think SCO's original plan was a buyout from IBM.

          But it's better for IBM's reputation to burn SCO to the ground, salt the earth, and put up a plaque describing the events for anyone who would ever fuck with them in the future.

          IBM wins the game. The money is worth it to them. It buys them a reputation that no other use of the money can come close to.

          No one will play this game against IBM again.

        • Given the amount of Other Companies' Servers they run, and the number of ISVs they work with, a frivolous claim of stealing code from a (former) development partner couldn't be allowed to stand and damage their professional reputation.

          Hence the scorched-earth/blacken-their-sky-with-lawyers/never-one-cent-in-tribute policy that's clearly meant as a don't-fsck-with-us message to any other dying company seeing a very deep set of pockets to try picking.

    • IBM could make that claim in the beginning; statute of limitations does not apply to the length of a lawsuit. SCO filed within the statute; them dragging a non-case for years is another matter. Now should SCO file new claims then IBM can invoke statute of limitations.
    • by unixisc (2429386)

      I thought that SCO was totally transformed into a new company called UnXiS, which owns SCO OSE and Unixware, and apparently doesn't have a clue on what to do w/ them. They're still alive to sue? Does anyone other than its board really work there? What's their source of income, for starters? After Monterrey went south, I thought it was over for them.

      Honestly, I think their best hope would be to port Unixware to the Itanium, and try to get bought by Intel.

    • by debrain (29228)

      Statute of limitations, and its equitable cousin laches [wikipedia.org], prevent one from bringing claims after a certain period of time eg 2 years after an incident. SCO brought the claim within the appropriate time frame, and in any case they allege the infringement is ongoing (and so the only issue related to statute of limitations is how far back damages can be calculated - usually two or so years before the claim was issued).

      There are other doctrines that may apply during and after a proceeding. For example res judica [wikipedia.org]

    • by tragedy (27079)

      Actually, IBM wants to go forward at this point so that they can thoroughly crush SCO into the dirt. A good part of this is about taking away any last assets SCO may have so that they don't get paid to SCO's lawyers.

    • Statute of Limitations, in all cases, is a limit on how long you can wait to file a complaint. It is not a limit on how long the courts can take to decide the merits of the case.
  • by sammy baby (14909) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:44PM (#39075691) Journal

    I suppose this was unavoidable once Duke Nukem Forever went gold...

    • by medv4380 (1604309)
      Duke Nukem Forever was certainly a sign, but SCO's continued existence is more of a business as usual. Now if SCO finally dropped dead and stopped rising from the grave. Then I would worry.
  • uh-oh (Score:5, Funny)

    by demonbug (309515) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:48PM (#39075729) Journal

    I better go pay my $699 per CPU fee, because clearly Zombie SCO cannot be stopped.

    • If a corporation is a 'person', then clearly there must be some way to remove the head or destroy the brain, right? Oh jesus, what have we done...
      • by EdIII (1114411)

        You are assuming there is a brain?

        This is more like a parasite.

        • by Gilmoure (18428)

          Ah, this is like when you pull the body of a tick off you and the head stays buried in skin; it's kinda' itchy.

  • IBM wants this (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sez Zero (586611) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:49PM (#39075739) Journal
    They want it to proceed (which I believe was frozen after SCO went into bankruptcy) so that IBM can pound the shit out of SCO in court again.
  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:49PM (#39075753)

    In the article, it says SCO is broke:
    "total assets as $0 (yes, that's "zero"), down from $1,326,293 on petition date, and total liabilities of $1,119,238, up from $418,965 on petition date."

    So who the F@#K would represent them for free?
    Is money coming from "the cloud"?

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:55PM (#39075841) Homepage

      If it's the same as the last round, I'd say that we'd find the answer we were looking for in Redmond, WA.

      And that's not just basic MS bashing - we have the memo [catb.org].

    • by atouk (1336461) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:58PM (#39075897)

      It's probobly a group of ex Righthaven lawyers with some free time doing pro bono work to stay sharp.

    • The M$ cloud
    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:09PM (#39076045)
      I believe SCO worked out a deal with Boies in the middle of the case. The trial fees were capped at $25M but Boies was paid upfront. So Boies has to represent SCO; however, with the money gone, no one says they have to represent with their best attorneys.
    • by LoyalOpposition (168041) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:13PM (#39076087)

      So who the F@#K would represent them for free?

      Boies, Schiller & Flexner. At one point SCO got BS&F to agree to represent them through appeals for what BS&F had already received plus a percentage of the proceeds. Score one for SCO.

      ~Loyal

      • At one point SCO got BS&F to agree to represent them through appeals for what BS&F had already received plus a percentage of the proceeds.

        Which is a strategic mistake on the part of BS&F, and should be considered a conflict of interest, since it gives them a stake in the outcome. It no longer makes them attorneys for the plaintiffs, but rather turns them into the plaintiffs. They may have become more focused on their own best interest, and less focused on their client's best interest.

    • by jythie (914043)
      They are probably still borrowing to pay the lawyers, or they have bills piling up with the lawyers too invested to simply quit.. kinda like a 419 scam.
    • They got their lawyers to agree to a decent one-time payment plus a share of the final payout in exchange for sticking with the case till all the appeals are done.

      In other words, their lawyers are stuck working for free till the last appeal is over and done...

      • IBM should assign a Nazgul or two to milk this law firm into bankruptcy. They can afford it.

        Strategic errors in filing, allowing the lawsuit a gasp of O2, that force the shysters to spend more money for nothing. Then subpena the senior partners to testify about conflicts of interest. Repeat until BS&F cries. Then repeat some more, make them get honest jobs.

        Punish the bastards.

    • by FridayBob (619244)

      ... So who the F@#K would represent them for free? ...

      They themselves? IIRC, companies that engage in patent tolling activities often consist largely or entirely of lawyers.

  • Since I'm not an attorney, I'm shooting from the hip; but shouldn't IBM just move for a summary judgement and request thr court order SCO to pay it's legal costs as well as the court's costs?
    • Re:Summary Judgement (Score:4, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:21PM (#39076185)
      IBM has already moved for summary judgement and the court has ruled that there are enough issues of law for the case to proceed. Normally summary judgements are granted when they are no issues of fact. Some of the claims SCO has made may be thrown out because they did not own the copyrights. (IBM violating their Unix agreements have been waived by Novell and Novell owns the Unix copyrights). Claims that IBM interfered with SCO's business and IBM infringed upon UnixWare copyrights is a question of law.
  • by residieu (577863) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:56PM (#39075869)
    Now that SCO has spent all its money and sold off all its assets for peanuts, now it can proceed with lawsuits where it will be found liable for additional money. All still safely behind the shield of bankruptcy court of course (A court which thinks selling off all assets and giving the finger to creditors is a plausible way to restructure a business)
  • by Bonker (243350) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:03PM (#39075959)

    The MOR for TSG shows total assets as $0 (yes, that's "zero"), down from $1,326,293 on petition date, and total liabilities of $1,119,238, up from $418,965 on petition date. The MOR for TSG Operations shows total assets as $1,515,129, down from $15,493,080 on petition date, and total liabilities of $9,739,295, up from $4,311,640 on petition date. Go SCO! It was not bankrupt when it entered bankruptcy protection, but it surely is now.

    Total assets: $1,515,129. Total Debt: $10,858,533

    Hmm... SCO's in a world of hurt. I'm trying to figure out how they can even get lawyers to work with them at this point, unless they're using a 'We don't get paid unless you get paid!' ambulance chaser-type personal liability attorney.

    Hey, IBM. That's a total of $12,373,662. According to your 2010 income report, it looks like you're making a net of about 14 billion dollars a year... literally more than a thousand times that. And I'm thinking that at least some of that $10.9m is owed to you. If you guys negotiate a bit with the other creditors, I'm betting you could simply up and purchase all SCO's assets for about $2-4m.

    That's lunch money for a company like IBM. It's less than a certain Kickstart project we've all been reading about.

    Think about the good will you could create by taking a dump truck to what's left of SCO and then public-domaining the entire shebang.

    • Re:$1,515,129 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tokul (682258) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:10PM (#39076049)

      I'm betting you could simply up and purchase all SCO's assets for about $2-4m.

      Whole point of this trial is about refusing to buy out company which tries to extort money.

    • by residieu (577863)

      At least for the Novell lawsuit, they paid the lawyers a lump sum and go them to agree to continue with the case through all appeals without further pay. I don't remember whether that agreement applied to the IBM lawsuit as well.

      And that $1.5 million is their TOTAL assets. They sold off everything but their rights to continue the lawsuit with IBM. There's nothing left to public domain.

      • by Todd Knarr (15451)

        The original deal in the IBM lawsuit was that BSF would get paid in shares of SCO stock (which presumably would be worth a lot more after SCO won, making for a tidy windfall for BSF). But that turned out to be a problem for BSF: IBM pointed out that BSF weren't merely counsel but had an actual personal interest in the suit (seeing as they held or would hold an ownership interest in SCO). That scared BSF, because it meant they couldn't avoid liability for judgements if the suit went badly for SCO. That resul

    • Re:$1,515,129 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:22PM (#39076201) Homepage

      IBM has 3 reasonable purposes here:
      1. They want SCO to have to get up in court and admit that they never had a leg to stand on, or a ruling from the bench to the same effect. This is in part to prevent any successor to SCO from pulling the same stunt.
      2. To deter anyone else who's tempted to make similar claims from even trying it.
      3. Buying them out would be a mercy killing. IBM has no reason to be merciful.

  • ... wake me the fu& up?

  • First Half: Gurgle gurgle gurgle woosh squeek squeek cough... Dude, I just had this great idea!
    Second Half: Lets sue IBM again.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:26PM (#39076263)

    Error 503 Service Unavailable

    Service Unavailable

    Guru Meditation:

    XID: 1328143252

    See, Slashdot? That happens when you don't pay for your licenses!

  • This is the lawsuit that never ends, it goes on and on my friends. some people started suing just because, making...

  • by metacell (523607) on Friday February 17, 2012 @01:57PM (#39076695)

    It's a fact that Microsoft funded SCO's lawsuits against Linux under the table.

    In October 2003, BayStar Capital and Royal Bank of Canada invested US$50 million in The SCO Group to support the legal cost of SCO's Linux campaign. Later it was shown that BayStar was referred to SCO by Microsoft, whose proprietary Windows operating system competes with Linux. In 2003, BayStar looked at SCO on the recommendation of Microsoft, according to Lawrence R. Goldfarb, managing partner of BayStar Capital: "It was evident that Microsoft had an agenda".

    On March 4, 2004, a leaked SCO internal e-mail detailed how Microsoft had raised up to $106 million via the BayStar referral and other means. Blake Stowell of SCO confirmed the memo was real. BayStar claimed the deal was suggested by Microsoft, but that no money for it came directly from them. In addition to the Baystar involvement, Microsoft paid SCO $6M (USD) in May 2003 for a license to "Unix and Unix-related patents", despite the lack of Unix-related patents owned by SCO.

    (Wikipedia [wikipedia.org])

  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday February 17, 2012 @02:12PM (#39076889) Homepage Journal

    And that's up 21% from yesterday's close. This looks like a pump and dump so they can afford lunch.

  • by Mike Van Pelt (32582) on Friday February 17, 2012 @04:10PM (#39078439)

    "If you do not drop the suit now, or submit the claimed infringing code as evidence in ten days, the suit will be dismissed with prejudice, you will pay all court costs and legal fees for the defendant, and you will be jailed for contempt of court."

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