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AutoZone wants SCO case put on hold

The auto parts retailer answers the SCO Group's legal push against big Linux users by asking to postpone the copyright violation lawsuit against it.

AutoZone has asked a court to put a hold on the SCO Group's Linux lawsuit against it--a case that could have repercussions for any company using the open-source operating system.

SCO sued AutoZone in March, arguing that the auto parts retailer infringed on SCO Unix copyrights through its use of Linux.

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In its response, filed on Friday in U.S. District Court in Nevada, AutoZone said the case should be stayed until there are results from three related SCO lawsuits that involve IBM, Red Hat and Novell.

"The resolution of each of these prior filed actions will significantly clarify, if not resolve, SCO's claims against AutoZone," the auto parts retailer said in its motion.

Although SCO's case against AutoZone has implications for many Linux users, these could be restricted, because AutoZone used SCO's OpenServer version of Unix until three years ago. "In 2001, SCO told AutoZone that it would no longer be offering support for its OpenServer product. AutoZone was therefore forced to switch to a new operating system," the company said in its motion. AutoZone chose Red Hat's version of Linux as a replacement and completed the transition in 2002, it said.

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SCO launched its high-profile legal attack on Linux with a $5 billion suit against IBM that asserts that Big Blue violated its Unix contract with SCO by moving Unix technology to Linux. IBM has countersued, arguing that SCO violated Linux's license and IBM's patents.

In turn, Red Hat sued SCO in August, seeking a court judgment that its version of Linux doesn't violate SCO copyrights. That case has been put on hold, until there's a resolution in the IBM suit.

And in January, SCO filed suit against Novell, an earlier owner of Unix intellectual property, in an effort establish ownership of the Unix copyrights Novell says it still holds.

In its filing, AutoZone requested that it be given more information about SCO's claims, if the Nevada court decides that the AutoZone case should proceed in parallel with the others.

"SCO's complaint broadly alleges that AutoZone's distribution and copying of Linux infringes SCO's alleged rights in Unix; however, it is impossible to tell from the face of the complaint how AutoZone's actions infringe any rights in Unix or what portions of Linux or Unix are at issue," the motion said.

Separately, AutoZone also asked that the case be moved to U.S. District court in Western Tennessee. "Although AutoZone is incorporated in Nevada, virtually all of AutoZone's relevant witnesses and documents are located in Memphis, Tennessee, where AutoZone is headquartered," the company said in another motion.