The SCO Group, a struggling company with a loud campaign to profit from Unix intellectual property, has largely lost a case it brought against DaimlerChrysler.
In a hearing Wednesday, Judge Rae Lee Chabot of Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan granted most of DaimlerChrysler's motion to dismiss the case, SCO and DaimlerChrysler representatives said.
SCO sued DaimlerChrysler in March, alleging that it hadn't certified compliance with its contract with SCO to use the Unix operating system. In April, DaimlerChrysler moved to dismiss the suit, arguing it had in fact provided certification.
The case "for the most part probably is" over, SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said.
"We're satisfied that DaimlerChrysler did finally certify their compliance with the software agreement, but we are still interested in gaining some information on why they didn't certify within the allotted time," Stowell said. The case "is not completely over yet, because the judge still held out the possibility that we could pursue trying to find out information from DaimlerChrysler on why they took so long to certify."
DaimlerChrysler said in a statement, "We are pleased with the judge's ruling, and we look forward to finally resolving the one open issue."
SCO had alleged DaimlerChrysler violated the Unix software agreement by refusing to certify it was in compliance with the contract. DaimlerChrysler was required to certify it was using the Unix software only on specific computer processors, according to the contract.
When SCO sued, DaimlerChrysler hadn't certified that it was in compliance with the agreement, but it had done so by the time it responded in April--saying it had completely stopped using the Unix software years earlier.
The judge's decision marks a significant setback in SCO's efforts to profit from Unix intellectual property, often at the expense of Linux. Other setbacks include assertions by earlier Unix owner Novell that it still owns Unix copyrights, an almost complete failure in convincing Linux users to buy SCO intellectual property licenses, a countersuit by IBM accusing SCO of patent infringement, and a partial stay in SCO's case against AutoZone that argues Linux infringes Unix copyrights.
The DaimlerChrysler case centered on Unix and only brushed up against Linux, but SCO has considered a strategy to expand from the Unix contract into Linux. "Say they have a license for the Unix source code to be on 10 boxes. If they have 2000 boxes that have Linux source code on it that is duplicative of our Unix source code, they are breaking the contract they have with us," SCO Chief Executive Darl McBride said in an earlier interview.
SCO sent letters to 3,000 Unix licensees in December demanding they demonstrate compliance with their contracts within 30 days. In a court filing, SCO said it took DaimlerChrysler 110 days.