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Judge whittles down SCO claims against IBM

Dispute continues, but SCO will have to press on without hundreds of claims in its Linux code case.

A Utah judge has thrown out hundreds of claims made by SCO Group in its Linux lawsuit against IBM, finding that SCO failed to specify many of Big Blue's alleged misdeeds.

In a ruling filed this week in district court, Judge Brooke Wells agreed with an IBM motion to limit the scope of claims filed by SCO last year.

The company launched its initial suit against IBM in 2003, claiming Big Blue's contributions to the Linux operating system included Unix code owned by SCO. IBM doesn't believe its Linux work infringed on any SCO copyrights, and it has questioned the validity of those copyrights.

The most recent ruling concerns whether or not SCO was required to specifically state how IBM had infringed on its copyrights over the "methods and concepts" used to create an operating system.

SCO argued that the description of the methods and concepts it provided to the court was sufficient to show the infringement, but IBM countered that SCO needed to provide information on specific code.

The judge agreed. "SCO's arguments are akin to SCO telling IBM, 'Sorry, we are not going to tell you what you did wrong because you already know,'" Wells wrote in the ruling.

"Our legal team is reviewing the judge's ruling and will determine our next steps in the near future," SCO said in a statement. It still has several claims related to specific code allegedly taken from Unix that were not part of this decision and that will be argued at a trial scheduled for February 2007.

An IBM representative could not immediately be reached for comment.