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New trial date in IBM-SCO case

Federal judge resets trial date to February 2007, allowing time to depose Big Blue chief Sam Palmisano.

A federal judge overseeing the SCO Group lawsuit against IBM has set a new trial date of February 2007, allowing time for the parties involved to handle preliminary issues such as deposing Big Blue's chief executive, Sam Palmisano.

U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball reset the trial date to Feb. 26, 2007, in SCO's lengthy and contentious legal battle against IBM, which focuses on allegations that the computer maker infringed on SCO's intellectual property. Previously, the trial was scheduled to begin on Nov. 1.

The new schedule comes as Judge Kimball ruled last week on two motions by the parties. One motion granted SCO's request to depose Palmisano; the other motion, a request by SCO to file a third amended complaint, was denied.

In his ruling on whether to depose Palmisano, the judge noted that Big Blue's chief executive could have "unique personal knowledge related to the claims in (the SCO) action."

IBM had argued otherwise and added that SCO could obtain the information through other sources. In the end, the judge ruled Palmisano could be deposed for four hours, rather than the seven-hour window that SCO had sought.

In denying SCO's request to file a third amended complaint, the judge cited the further delays it would create in the case.

"To permit the proposed amendment would expand this already sizable and complex litigation and would serve only to delay its resolution," Judge Kimball stated in his order. "SCO has twice amended its complaint...and the deadline for seeking leave to further amend has long-since passed."

SCO initially filed its $1 billion lawsuit against IBM in 2003, alleging Big Blue had violated its Unix contract by moving its proprietary software to Linux. As a result, SCO alleges Linux contains its proprietary Unix intellectual property.

IBM denies those claims and has filed countersuits, as well.