Unix developer, The SCO Group, has filed a law suit against IBM, charging it with misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and other illegal actions related to IBM's Linux business. The suit seeks at least $1 billion in damages.
IBM obtained its Unix license in 1985 from AT&T (which developed the operating system), SCO said. In 1995 SCO bought the rights and ownership of Unix and became the "successor in interest" to the Unix licenses doled out by AT&T to IBM, Hewlett-Packard and others.
In its suit filed in the State Court of Utah, SCO alleged that IBM tried to destroy the economic value of Unix, particularly Unix on Intel-based servers, in order to benefit its Linux services business.
It charged IBM with misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference, unfair competition and breach of contract.
SCO also said it sent a letter to IBM demanding that it cease its allegedly anti-competitive practices. If IBM did not meet its demands within 100 days of receiving the letter, SCO said it had a right to revoke IBM's license for the AIX Unix operating system.
IBM could not immediately be reached for comment.
SCO claims in its suit to have been injured in the marketplace by IBM’s actions and has asked the court for damages of at least $US1 billion, with the amount to be proven at a trial.
The company announced in January that it had hired a law firm to investigate possible violations of its intellectual property.
“SCO is in the enviable position of owning the Unix operating system,” SCO's president and chief executive officer, Darl McBride, said.
SCO believed it had "a compelling case against IBM," McBride said.