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Red Hat's Suit against SCO Put on Hold

Red Hat's Suit against SCO Put on Hold

The Delaware federal court where Red Hat filed suit against the SCO Group has stayed any litigation or discovery pending the outcome of SCO's $5 billion suit against IBM in Utah.

Judge Susan Robinson said that the IBM suit was all about whether Linux contains any misappropriated Unix source code and that it would be a "waste of judicial resources to have two district courts resolving the same issue, especially when the first filed suit in Utah involves the primary parties to the dispute."

In the same breath, Judge Robinson also denied SCO's motion to simply throw the Red Hat suit out as being groundless.

She agrees with Red Hat that it has a "reasonable apprehension" of eventually being sued by SCO since "There is no question that Red Hat is a Linux software developer who is engaging in the allegedly infringing activities" that SCO is claiming and since, as Robinson reckons, SCO has basically said it would sue Red Hat.

The line "There will a day of reckoning for Red Hat" that fell from the lips of SCO CEO Darl McBride didn't pass her notice no matter how SCO has subsequently attempted to construe the remark.

Because Red Hat's situation meets the two criteria - the threat of a suit and potentially unclean hands - needed for the declaratory judgment that Red Hat sued SCO to get from the court, the judge denied SCO's motion to simply throw the Red Hat suit out.

She also said something about plaintiffs - which would be Red Hat - not getting "advisory opinions on their potential liability for initiating some future activities."

Red Hat sued SCO to get a court to declare that Red Hat wasn't infringing SCO's IP or misappropriating SCO's trade secrets and that SCO's copyrights are unenforceable against Linux. It wanted SCO enjoined from calling Linux an unauthorized derivative of SVR5 and damages for SCO's disparagement, tortious interference with Red Hat's customers and unfair competition, etc, etc, etc.

Robinson told both SCO and Red Hat to send her a letter every 90 days and let her know how the IBM suit is going. "If, for any reason," she said, "that litigation is not progressing in an orderly and efficient fashion, the court may reconsider the stay."

The IBM suit is currently scheduled to go to trial a year from now.

In reaction to the Delaware decision, SCO, whose lawyers have argued against the Red Hat suit by saying it was a Utah matter, Said, "By staying the Red Hat vs SCO case, SCO can now concentrate its legal resources toward its case against IBM. We look forward

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Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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