• United States

German court fines SCO for anti-Linux claims

Sep 08, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsIBMLinux

* SCO ordered to pay damages for violating a German court order

The first court fine was issued in the SCO/IBM Linux legal saga recently, but it wasn’t in a U.S. court.

A court in Germany ruled that SCO must pay 10,000 Euros ($10,800) in damages for violating a German court’s ruling that SCO must cease claiming that the Linux source code violates its intellectual property.

The ruling was made in a Munich court after a German Linux advocacy group and a Germany-based Linux-focused IT integration firm made the complaint about SCO’s claims that Linux violated SCO’s intellectual property rights. The plaintiffs’ main complaint was that SCO had not come up with supporting evidence to back up its claims.

As part of SCO’s multibillion-dollar lawsuit against IBM, SCO has made claims that Linux violates SCO’s Unix intellectual property rights, and that any Linux user may be in violation of the law. The SCO suit alleges that IBM misused Unix code, belonging to SCO, in its co-development of an enterprise Linux kernel.

In June, the Munich court ruled, in basic terms, that SCO had to put up, or shut up: either produce evidence to back up the Linux/Unix intellectual property violations, or take down SCO’s German Web site that made the claims.

SCO complied, but a “Letter to SCO’s Partners” warning of potential legal issues around using Linux could still be viewed. This prompted the fine by the court.

The injunction only keeps SCO from making Linux patent infringement claims in Germany, but the ruling could be a harbinger for the future of SCO’s Linux patent lawsuit.