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Red Hat Wants To Reignite SCO Case

Red Hat lawyers are looking for a way to get the Linux distributor's copyright-themed case against the SCO Group back in the courts after a recent ruling put its legal fight on hold.

Red Hat spokesperson Leigh Day told internetnews.com the company just wants to get resolution in the case in a timely manner, saying "we'd rather have it sooner rather than later on behalf of our customer base and the community who's also had to deal with this issue."

The suspension of the Red Hat case April 6 was considered a win for SCO -- which was fighting a two-front litigation battle against Red Hat in Delaware and IBM in Utah -- even though the same ruling wiped out its own motion to dismiss the case out of hand.

Red Hat is suing SCO on numerous counts for making claims on the open source Linux kernel through its ownership of the Unix System V code base, which SCO said was inappropriately used by IBM to bolster the Linux code.

SCO has in recent times sued customers for either using Linux or not certifying they don't use Linux, and has threatened more lawsuits against companies using Linux if they don't pay licensing fees that SCO Group claims it is owed by Linux users.

The company's lawsuit against IBM over Linux code isn't expected to start until sometime next year; meanwhile, judge Sue Robinson of the Delware District Court suspended the Red Hat case against SCO Group until resolution of SCO Group's separate trial against IBM has been reached.

According to the motion of reconsideration filed by attorney Josy Ingersoll, that's too long. Red Hat "will suffer manifest injustice from a stay, since SCO apparently intends to continue to harass and threaten suit against Red Hat's customers in other jurisdictions, while Red Hat's declaratory judgment suit here, which was intended to prevent this precise harm to it and to its customers, is forced to languish," he stated in the document.

In related Linux litigation news:

  • There is still no word from BayStar Capital, the investor that plopped down $20 million in financing to SCO in October 2003 and is now asking for their money back. Friday, SCO officials announced BayStar wanted its part of the $50 million investment returned for breach of contract, but wasn't inclined to do so until it got some specifics.

    BayStar spokesperson Bob McGrath said Friday the company would be releasing those details, but repeated calls and emails have since gone unanswered. As of Friday evening, SCO also had not received clarification on BayStar's charges.

  • SCO has until Friday to respond to IBM's counterclaims in the Utah case, while IBM has until April 30 to respond to SCO's motion for an amended schedule order, originally established by a magistrate judge before proceeding began last year. SCO court documents show IBM's counterclaims make keeping to the original timetable impossible. They request all proceeding moved back several months, with a jury trial to begin in September 2005.