IBM filed its answer and counterclaim to SCO's Amended Complaint late on 6 August 2003 in the Utah Federal court presiding over the SCO-Caldera v IBM lawsuit. IBM's counter claims for money damages and injunctive relief come only days after Red Hat Software, announced a two-pronged legal counter attack against SCO-Caldera's anti-Linux war.
SCO-Caldera has been attempting to scare GNU/Linux users into buying SCO UnixWare licenses that promise to hold them harmless from SCO anti-Linux lawsuits. SCO-Caldera also has filed a lawsuit against IBM, which is essentially a fracas about IBM contributing code to the Linux kernel and otherwise heavily supporting GNU/Linux and the GNU/Linux community.
SCO Infringes on IBM Patents
According to a letter from Bob Samson, Vice President, Systems Sales, IBM Systems Group, IBM is seeking an "injunction requiring SCO to refrain from misrepresenting its rights, and to cease further infringement of IBM's patents."
In MozillaQuest Magazine's 5 August 2003 article discussing SCO-Caldera's Amended Complaint and the SCO v IBM lawsuit, Tom Carey and Mike Angelo discussed the IBM patent issue: on page 4 of that article.
MozillaQuest Magazine: Could this produce an anomaly where IBM owns the copyright and patent interests in these derivative works and extensions yet IBM is subject to the Unix license agreements for them anyway?
Thomas C. Carey: This is unlikely. But it is possible that either party may have written code that infringes on the patent rights of the other party. If IBM owns patents that cover the functions served by the disputed code, then IBM is in the driver's seat. It is relatively easy to code around copyrighted software. Patent protection is much more of a challenge. In that case, SCO might have a hard time selling UNIX without a license from IBM. [Emphasis Added.]
Here is the meat of Bob Samson's letter:
IBM counter sued SCO on a range of issues. Simply put, SCO's scheme is an attempt to profit from its limited rights to a very old UNIX operating system by introducing fear, uncertainty and doubt into the marketplace.
The counterclaims are detailed in our legal filing, but here are the key points:
SCO has violated the GNU General Public License, under which it accepted
Linux contributions and distributed Linux.
SCO has improperly claimed the right to revoke IBM's UNIX license, despite the fact that IBM's contract expressly provides that IBM's rights are irrevocable and that Novell, which is a party to the agreement under which IBM obtained an irrevocable and perpetual UNIX license, agrees that SCO cannot terminate IBM's license and has exercised its right to waive this claim.
SCO has directly infringed four IBM patents relating to SCO's commercially available UnixWare, Open Server, SCO Manager and Reliant HA clustering software products.
IBM is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and an injunction requiring SCO to refrain from misrepresenting its rights, and to cease further infringement of IBM's patents.
The Germans already have been quite successful at getting the German courts to force SCO-Caldera from making its Anti-Linux claims and spreading FUD in Germany. Will the American's be as successful in their court battles to stop SCO-Caldera from making its Anti-Linux claims and spreading FUD in the U.S.A.?
A Quick Look at IBM's Answer and Counterclaim
We still are digesting IBM's 45-page puppy. It's a hum-dinger. But here are some highlights of IBM's counterattack.
First off the full title of IBM's answer and counterclaim taken from the filing is "DEFENDANT IBM' S ANSWER TO THE AMENDED COMPLAINT AND COUNTERCLAIM-PLAINTIF IBM'S COUNTERCLAIMS AGAINST SCO". SCO now is the Plaintiff/Counterclaim-Defendant and IBM now is the Defendant/Counterclaim-Plaintiff.
The first sixteen pages of IBM's Answer and Counterclaim are comprised of 170 paragraphs answering the 170 numbered paragraphs of SCO's Amended Complaint. The sixteen page Answer is pretty much a straight up and down denial of just about every allegation made in SCO's Amended Complaint.
That's a major change and improvement from IBM's Answer to SCO's original Complaint. In that original Answer, IBM tried to evade answering many questions there by falsely stating that it did not have sufficient information so as to form a belief about the truth of the allegations. More about that and the details of the sixteen page Answer to the Amended Complaint in an upcoming article.
Pages 17 and 18 of IBM's Answer and Counterclaim raise ten boilerplate affirmative defenses. However, of particular interest might be the Tenth Defense, set forth on page 18: SCO has failed, in whole or in part, to mitigate its alleged damages.
IBM fails to specify with sufficient particularity how SCO allegedly has failed to mitigate its alleged damages. However, it is quite likely that this is where SCO and its CEO Darl McBride's refusal to show IBM (and also the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux developers and distributors) just what code SCO claims IBM improperly contributed to the Linux kernel is going to boot SCO and McBride in the butt.
IBM's Counterclaims start on page 18 of its Answer and Counterclaim. Pages 18 through 44 are about IBM's ten Counterclaims -- 103 numbered paragraphs of counterclaim pleadings. Particularly interesting is the Second Counterclaim, relating violation of the Lanham Act -- 15 U.S.C. § 1125, 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a).
Red Hat's lawsuit against SCO also includes allegations of SCO violating the Lanham Act. To all those people in the GNU/Linux community that want to sue SCO, check IBM's Second Counterclaim and the comparable allegations in the Red Hat v SCO Complaint. You likely can use the Lanham act as a basis to sue SCO too.
Here are the ten IBM Counterclaims:
FIRST COUNTERCLAIM Breach of Contract
SECOND COUNTERCLAIM Lanham Act Violation
THIRD COUNTERCLAIM Unfair Competition
FOURTH COUNTERCLAIM Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Relations
FIFTH COUNTERCLAIM Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices
SIXTH COUNTERCLAIM Breach of the GNU General Public License
SEVENTH COUNTERCLAIM Patent Infringement -- United States Patent No- 4,814,746 "Data Compression Method"
EIGHTH COUNTERCLAIM Patent Infringement -- United States Patent No. 4,821,211 "Method of Navigating Among Program Menus Using a Graphical Menu Tree"
NINTH COUNTERCLAIM Patent Infringement -- United States Patent No- 4,953,209 "Self-Verifying Receipt and Acceptance System for Electronically Delivered Data Objects"
TENTH COUNTERCLAIM Patent Infringement -- United States Patent No, 5,805,785 "Method for Monitoring and Recovery of Subsystems in a Distributed/Clustered System"
Please see the first two parts of our series about SCO-Caldera's IP claims plus its intentions to enforce and license its intellectual property rights.
Related MozillaQuest Articles
SCO-Caldera v IBM: