Salt Lake City (UT)- In a decision handed down late Wednesday that could leave absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind as to US Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells’ opinion regarding the validity or substance of SCO’s claims in the three-year-old UNIX infringement case against IBM, the judge granted IBM’s motion to limit SCO’s claims going forward to a much smaller list for which SCO has actually offered evidence.
The basis of IBM’s motion had been that SCO, in claiming that IBM stole elements of Linux source code from UNIX – many of the rights to which SCO inherited, in several steps, from AT&T – failed to produce source code that would demonstrate that IBM had indeed stolen not just methodologies, but intellectual property. Judge Wells resoundingly agreed, in absolutely scathing language:
…The court finds that SCO has failed in part to meet the level of specificity required by this court’s orders and the order entered by Judge Kimball. It is also apparent that SCO in some instances failed to meet the level of specificity it required of IBM. Further, this failure was willful under case law and prejudicial to IBM. Therefore, the court GRANTS IBM’s Motion to Limit SCO’s Claims Relating to Allegedly Misused Material in Part.
…Certainly if an individual was stopped and accused of shoplifting after walking out of Neiman Marcus, they would expect to be eventually told what they allegedly stole. It would be absurd for an officer to tell the accused that ‘you know what you stole I’m not telling.’ Or, to simply hand the accused individual a catalog of Neiman Marcus’ entire inventory and say ‘its in there somewhere, you figure it out.’
The above excerpt was actually from Judge Wells, and not from Pamela Jones, whose Groklaw blog rose to fame with its coverage of the case…as well as for Jones’ own pointed opinions about it. “One thing is certain,” Jones wrote on Wednesday. “There will be no billions of dollars in damages, even if SCO could prevail on these puny items.” However, those puny items will still be under debate for some time to come, perhaps months, Jones believes. Her commentary and analysis appears here, along with a complete copy of Judge Wells’ ruling. For its part, SCO has had no official comment on the matter.