CEO: SCO to launch first end-user lawsuit Tuesday

CEO: SCO to launch first end-user lawsuit Tuesday

The SCO Group on Tuesday (Wednesday in Australia) will launch its first lawsuit against a Linux user for alleged violations of SCO's intellectual property, said SCO Chief Executive Officer Darl McBride.

SCO has embroiled itself in legal disputes in the last year with IBM Corp., Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc. over whether or not Linux illegally contains Unix source code that is owned by SCO. SCO has threatened to sue Linux users in the past, and in May it sent letters to 1,500 large companies warning them that, unless they purchased software licenses from SCO, they could be liable for legal action.

SCO claimed in November to be 90 days away from launching a lawsuit against an end user, but the deadline passed recently without a suit having been filed. However, SCO is now ready to proceed with litigation against a single Linux customer, McBride said in an interview Monday.

After consulting with its law firm, Boies, Schiller and Flexner LLP, SCO has narrowed down its list of possible targets to a "handful" of the world's 1,000 largest corporations, McBride said. "We're going to file it tomorrow. It's sort of come down to a couple of complaints we have prepared," he said.

McBride declined to offer more details other than to say that the companies being considered were neither Internet Service Providers nor technology companies and that they all had recognizable names.

Speaking at the Software 2004 conference in San Francisco later Monday, McBride said that other lawsuits would follow. "I don't see hundreds and hundreds of lawsuits like the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) did, but I do see more than one," he said, referring to the lawsuits the RIAA has filed against online file-swappers.

Launching lawsuits against large corporations will do little more than speed up SCO's demise, according to Bruce Perens, a founder of the Open Source Initiative. "If you shake down a company that way, especially a Fortune 1000 company -- a company that has a good many more lawyers than SCO -- that tends to blow up in your face," he said. "SCO can confuse as many people as they want. They're still going to eventually go out of business. They can't win these suits."

This is proving to be a week of firsts for SCO. On Monday, the Lindon, Utah, company, for the first time, revealed the name of one of its SCO Intellectual Property License for Linux licensees. The company, Houston-based EV1Servers.Net has purchased site licenses from SCO for its two data centers for an undisclosed seven figure sum, according to SCO.

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