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Red Hat seeks to reawaken SCO case

The Linux company asks a judge to let its copyright-related suit go ahead, and not wait until a related case between IBM and SCO is resolved.

Red Hat has asked a federal judge to reverse her decision to put its copyright-related lawsuit against the SCO Group on hold.

Arguing that the stay was "inappropriate," Red Hat requested on Tuesday that Sue Robinson, chief judge for the U.S. District Court in Delaware, allow it to move forward with its case. The Raleigh, N.C.-based company is seeking a declaration from the Delaware court that it isn't violating SCO's copyrights or trade secrets.

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Robinson issued a hold in the Delaware case in April until a separate but related lawsuit filed by SCO against IBM had been resolved in Utah federal court. At the same time, she rejected SCO's request to have the case thrown out altogether.

In a case that sent shock waves through the computing industry, SCO sued IBM in March 2003. It argued that Big Blue had moved technology from Unix to Linux against the terms of a contract between the two companies. In February this year, SCO added a copyright-infringement claim to the third version of its complaint against IBM. That move came six months after Red Hat launched its legal bid to protect itself against SCO copyright claims.

Red Hat's lawyers argued on Tuesday that the basis of the case between SCO and IBM is different from that in its suit: "The Utah case...fundamentally concerns the contractual relationship between IBM and SCO, whereas the Delaware action concerns the damage SCO has done and is continuing to do to Red Hat," the motion said.

In addition, the Linux company's lawyers argued that Red Hat is suffering injustice as a result of the hold. "Staying this suit leaves SCO open to pursue the very activities that necessitated Red Hat's complaint in the first instance--a campaign against force Red Hat's customers to enter into licenses to use open-source code that SCO did not even develop," the Red Hat motion said.

SCO declined to comment for this story.