IBM seeks copyright judgment against SCO

In a new filing in the Linux legal spat, IBM asks for an order absolving it of any violations of SCO copyrights.

IBM is seeking a judicial judgment absolving it from any claims of copyright infringement against Linux antagonist the SCO Group.

The request appears in an amended counterclaim Big Blue filed Tuesday in its legal battle with SCO, whose main claims allege IBM violated contract provisions by distributing Linux products that illegally incorporate Unix code that SCO controls.

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The filing in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City includes a new counterclaim in which IBM seeks a declaratory judgment ruling that "IBM does not infringe, induce the infringement of or contribute to the infringement of any SCO copyright through its Linux activities, including its use, reproduction and improvement of Linux, and that some or all of SCO's purported copyrights in Unix are invalid and unenforceable."

The document also drops one of IBM's claims of patent infringement by SCO, regarding IBM's patent for a "method of navigating among programs using a graphical menu tree," which the company originally claimed had been incorporated into SCO products.

SCO last week filed a motion seeking to split the patent claims into a separate case.

Representatives from IBM and SCO declined to comment on Tuesday's filing, which responds to an amendment SCO filed in late February.

SCO rattled the technology world last year when it sued IBM, claiming that the computing giant illegally incorporated into its Linux software source code from the Unix operating system, which SCO controls. The case has since ballooned into a far-ranging attack on Linux, going on to accumulate copyright, patent and other claims and ballooning to $5 billion in damage claims.

The case has also sucked in several other companies, including previous Unix holder and current Linux champion Novell and Linux leader Red Hat, whose suit against SCO requested declaratory judgment similar to the new IBM claim.

SCO earlier this month began targeting large-scale Linux users, suing auto parts retailer AutoZone and automaker DaimlerChrysler.

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