23 July 2004 The SCO Group this week suffered its first big legal setback in its battle against Linux, when its case against DaimlerChrysler was thrown out of court after just 20 minutes of deliberation by the judge.
SCO, which was the market leading provider of Unix on Intel until the emergence of Linux, sued DaimlerChrysler earlier this year on the grounds that its use of Linux infringed its SCO Unix operating system licence.
SCO has been campaigning against Linux for almost 18 months, claiming that it contains code that has been improperly added to the open source operating system. The main focus of its legal campaign has been computer giant IBM and, increasingly, users.
The legal action against DaimlerChrysler followed months of threats that it planned to take a major Linux user to court. That followed the sending of letters to some of the world’s biggest companies, threatening them with legal action unless they paid SCO a licence fee to use Linux.
DaimlerChrysler was selected because it had once been a user of SCO UnixWare and could therefore be sued on contractual grounds, rather than intellectual property.
The car maker strongly refuted all the claims made by SCO, counter-claiming that it had not used SCO software for more than seven years and was therefore not bound by any licensing agreement.
DaimlerChrysler had nevertheless been ordered by SCO to produce a certificate of authentication within 30 days, or face litigation. In April, DaimlerChrysler produced the required proof to validate its argument, after which it moved to dismiss the case.
The hearing took place earlier this week and the judge, after just 20 minutes, dismissed the case on all points except one – the length of time it took DaimlerChrysler to produce the certification: The car maker took 110 days instead of the requested 30 to comply.