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IBM Moves to Toss SCO Copyright Claim

Two days after The SCO Group moved to split its Linux lawsuit against IBM Corp. into two separate cases, IBM has fired back with a motion asking the court to toss out SCO's claims of copyright infringement.

The IBM motion, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, takes the form of a second round of counterclaims answering SCO's original suit, which alleged copyright infringement and breach of contract claims involving Linux.

Along with asking the court to issue a declaratory judgment that it did not infringe any copyrights owned by SCO, IBM is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

IBM is also petitioning the court to grant it injunctive relief through which SCO is enjoined from, according to the motion, "further violating IBM's rights."

Specifically, the motion asked that SCO be restrained from "misrepresenting that IBM no longer has the right, authority, and license to use, product and distribute AIX, Dynix, and IBM's Linux-related products [and from] publishing false and disparaging statements about AIX, Dynix and IBM's Linux-related products."

IBM declined to discuss its motion [further]. "We don't comment on pending litigation," IBM spokesman Mike Darcy told internetnews.com

SCO officials were not available for comment at posting time.

The IBM counterclaims come on the heels of an SCO motion asking the court to spin off into a separate trial four counterclaims made by IBM in September 2003. In those claims, Big Blue charged that SCO's UnixWare and Open Server products infringed on four patents owned by IBM.

In those September 2003 counterclaims, IBM also fired back at SCO's copyright infringement charges with some copyright allegations of its own. IBM charged SCO with violating seven Big Blue copyrights relating to Linux source code, including what IBM identified as modules for a print driver, journaled file system, and enterprise-class event logger.

In its just-filed second round of counterclaims, IBM adds nine new copyright infringement charges against SCO. The modules in question are listed as having had their copyrights registered by IBM on Feb. 2, 2004. The modules are identified as involving Linux kernel support for PowerPC 64, S390, and IBM's eServer iSeries systems.

Both SCO's request for splitting the suit into two and IBM's just-filed counterclaims must be decided on by the court before the case cane move forward.

Along with the IBM case, SCO is involved in additional pending Linux litigation. SCO is enmeshed in a suit against Novell. In addition, Red Hat has sued SCO to stop the latter from making what it called "untrue" claims about its business.

SCO earlier this month also filed its first suits against Linux end users, charging automaker DaimlerChrysler with contract violations and retailer Autozone with copyright infringement.