Court rules for IBM in preliminary SCO hearing

A judge ruled in favour of IBM in two motions argued in a Utah district court last week in its ongoing legal dispute with The SCO Group.

The motions asked the court to compel SCO to provide more details about the intellectual property violations it alleges that IBM committed by contributing Unix code to the Linux operating system.

The motions were argued in the US District Court for the District of Utah.

"IBM has said all along that SCO has failed to show evidence to back its claims," an IBM spokesperson said. "We are very pleased that the court has indicated it will compel SCO to finally back up its claims instead of relying on marketplace fear, uncertainty, and doubt [FUD]."

The legal dispute between the companies dates back to March, when SCO sued IBM for more than $US1 billion, claiming that IBM had destroyed SCO's Unix business by illegally contributing software to Linux.

SCO had so far been unable to provide any meaningful details of how IBM may have violated its intellectual property rights, IBM lawyers argued in court filings.

It chose instead to inundate IBM with "46 CDs containing over 900,000 pages of source code," the lawyers wrote.

"SCO may not, as it apparently intends to, dump hundreds of thousands of pages of paper and million lines of computer source code on IBM, and shift to IBM the burden to answer [SCO's claims] based on information buried somewhere in those materials," the lawyers wrote.

The ruling meant that SCO haf just over 30 days to provide IBM with more details about the nature of the alleged violations, SCO spokesman, Blake Stowell, said.

A judge would revisit the issue on January 23 to evaluate whether or not SCO had responded appropriately, he said.

On that date, SCO also planned to request further materials from IBM, including the source code to its AIX Unix operating system, Stowell said.

"This is a normal course of action in a court case and we look forward to providing what they're asking for, and we look forward to requesting items of them that they have not yet provided," he said.

Separately, SCO announced that it had pushed back the announcement of the financial results for its fiscal 2003 year by two weeks.

The delay was necessary to finalise accounting on a recent $US50 million investment that was made in the firm by BayStar Capital, SCO said.

Revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003 should be in line with the $US22 million to $US25 million it had previously estimated.

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