A U.S. District Court has given SCO Group
the OK to add copyright infringement claims to its Linux lawsuit against IBM.
“The Court, therefore, finding good cause shown hereby grants SCO Group’s motion for leave to file amended pleadings,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke C. Wells wrote in the ruling. (Amended pleadings refer to the legal document in which SCO has added the copyright infringement claim.)
Allowing SCO to add the copyright infringement claims to the suit is expected to bump up potential damages by $2 billion for each claim, which would bring the potential damages to $5 billion.
The ruling, issued Wednesday and released to the public Thursday by the U.S. Court for the Central District of Utah, comes shortly after IBM told the court that it wouldn’t oppose the addition of the claims to the suit.
However, IBM’s agreement to proceed doesn’t mean it agrees with the claims. Indeed, IBM has filed court papers calling the SCO copyright
allegations “meritless” and saying it will defend against them.
Legal experts point out that the addition of claims to a lawsuit is a common tactic that’s unlikely to be denied by a judge (as is now the case), so IBM is likely pursuing a standard strategy simply to get on with the case in order to vigorously contest the claims in court.
Allowing SCO to add the copyright infringement claims to the suit will bump up potential damages to $5 billion from $3 billion.
Along with copyright, the “Second Amended Pleading” amends the manner in which SCO originally laid out its case in March, 2003. Specifically, the new document rearranges SCO’s list of claims and breaks them out in far greater detail.
For example, the original pleading cited four causes of action, or charges, against IBM: misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, interference with contract, and breach of contract.
In contrast, the new pleading cites nine causes of action: breach of IBM software agreement, breach of IBM sublicensing agreement, breach of Sequent (a company acquired by IBM) software agreement, breach of Sequent sublicensing agreement, copyright infringement, unfair competition, two separate charges of interference with contract, and interference with business relationships.