RealTime IT News

Judge Hands IBM a Small Win Against SCO

UPDATED: IBM has won a minor battle in its legal war with SCO over alleged misappropriated portions of Unix code.

Judge Brooke Wells of U.S. District Court Central Division District of Utah has issued a ruling in favor of IBM granting its motion to limit SCO's claims in part.

The dispute between IBM and SCO dates back to March 2003 when SCO filed a suit alleging IBM in some way misused its Unix software license and inappropriately shared Unix trade secrets with the Linux development community.

The order specifies that IBM's motion to limit SCO's Claims Relating to Allegedly Misused Material "seeks precluding SCO from using certain alleged misappropriated items because of a lack of specificity."

It includes some harsh language for SCO from the court, which takes issue with SCO for not being as forthcoming with details as it should be, as IBM alleges.

"In the view of the court, it is almost like SCO sought to hide its case until the ninth inning in hopes of gaining an unfair advantage despite being repeatedly told to put 'all evidence on the table,'" the court order states.

Judge Wells' order indicates that, as per previous court orders, it was incumbent upon SCO to disclose the materials that they feel IBM allegedly misappropriated. In the court's view, that has not happened.

"Given the amount of code that SCO has received in discovery, the court finds it inexcusable that SCO is, in essence, still not placing all the details on the table.

"Certainly if an individual was stopped and accused of shoplifting after walking out of Neiman Marcus, they would expect to be eventually told what they allegedly stole," the court order states. "It would be absurd for an officer to tell the accused that 'you know what you stole; I'm not telling.'"

A spokesperson for IBM declined to comment on the ruling, noting that IBM does not comment on legal actions in progress.

A SCO spokesperson said the company's legal team is reviewing the judge's ruling and will determine its next steps in the near future.

While there will likely be more court action between the two, the case itself is not expected to go to trial until February 2007.