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Judge guts SCO claims

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A Utah magistrate judge this week threw out many of SCO's claims of intellectual property violation by IBM.

Judge Wells castigated SCO for its vagueness, and decided the vagueness was prejudicial to IBM. SCO had failed to make specific references to source code to back up its public claims that IBM had polluted its IP, Wells decided, and in the decision eviscerated SCO's case.

SCO made 294 claims in all. IBM contested 198 of them, and only 10 of the contested claims remain.

Last year, Judge Kimball had noted a "vast disparity between SCO's public accusations and its actual evidence".

"Accordingly, based on the delays that would arise from SCO's lack of specificity, and the burden this places on IBM at such a late stage in this litigation, the court finds that IBM is prejudiced by the lack of specificity in SCO's disclosures."

Wells found a vivid analogy for IBM's position of having to guess why it was guilty.

"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. It would be absurd for an officer to tell the accused that 'you know what you stole I'm not telling'. Or, to simply hand the accused individual a catalog of Neiman Marcus' entire inventory and say 'it's in there somewhere, you figure it out'," wrote Wells.

"In essence, IBM is left to wade through all the code found in the operating systems, and then ask SCO are you claiming line X in the Read-Copy-Update method found in Linux because there is a somewhat similar line in the Read-Copy-Update in AIX? Such an endeavour seems like a waste of resources and time because under the court's orders SCO should have already identified such information.

"Accordingly, based on the delays that would arise from SCO's lack of specificity, and the burden this places on IBM at such a late stage in this litigation, the court finds that IBM is prejudiced by the lack of specificity in SCO's disclosures."

Groklaw has the decision in text format, here. ®

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