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SCO Lawsuit Against DaimlerChrysler Is Thrown Out

A Michigan court Wednesday dismissed most of SCO Group's lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler Corp., which had accused the German automobile maker of breaking terms of its Unix System V licensing contract.

SCO filed the suit in March after the automaker failed to respond to a December letter from SCO calling for Unix licensees to recertify the terms of their contracts. DaimlerChrysler's move on April 6 to certify that it hasn't used that version of Unix for seven years deflated SCO's claims.

The one issue remaining is whether or not SCO can show it suffered damages as a result of DaimlerChrysler's delayed response. "We are pleased with the judge's decision and look forward to resolving the one remaining issue," a DaimlerChrysler spokesman said Thursday. SCO Group hasn't decided whether or not it will pursue that remaining element of its lawsuit.

Unix licensees agree in their contracts to comply with an annual audit, says a SCO spokesman. SCO decided for the first time in December to exercise this option, sending 3,000 letters to Unix licensees. Company president and CEO Darl McBride said earlier this year that SCO received responses from about half of the recipients. DaimlerChrysler wasn't among the companies that responded within the required 30 days.

The DaimlerChrysler suit is all but over, although SCO says it has the option of investigating why it took the automaker so long to comply. Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Rae Lee Chabot's ruling is likely to discourage SCO from suing other Unix licensees who failed to certify their use of the operating system.

The case addressed a different issue than lawsuits SCO filed against IBM, Novell, and Linux customer AutoZone. SCO sued AutoZone, claiming that the auto-parts retailer's use of Linux infringes upon SCO copyrights to Unix System V code. SCO's suit against IBM claims the company was responsible for placing Unix source code, which SCO says it owns the rights to, into Linux. And SCO is suing Novell for slander of title, claiming that Novell's continued claims to still own at least a portion of the Unix source code have hurt SCO's ability to pursue its lawsuits and sell intellectual-property licenses.