IBM has offered to drop its patent counterclaims against SCO Group in order to expedite the long-running contract and copyright legal battle between the two companies.
IBM has made the offer in a filing with the court opposing Lindon, Utah-based SCO’s motion to take additional depositions. The company maintained that it still believes SCO has infringed its patents but stated that it has made the offer in order to reduce the potential for further delays.
IBM’s filing was delivered in response to SCO’s September motion to take an additional 25 depositions during the fact discovery portion of the case, with one of the major reasons being the need to respond to IBM’s patent counterclaims.
As well as seeking more depositions, SCO’s filing also repeated its intention to ask the court once again to fork the legal case by separating out IBM’s patent infringement counterclaims. While SCO maintained that it would be able to take the additional depositions within the existing period of fact discovery, IBM is not convinced.
Based in part on SCO’s effort to expand the number of depositions in the case (and thereby delay its resolution), IBM has agreed to withdraw its patent claims. Thus SCO no longer needs patent depositions, let alone dozens or as many as 65.
To clarify its position, the company added: While IBM continues to believe that SCO infringed on IBM’s patent counterclaims to simplify and focus the issues in this case and to expedite their resolution.
IBM also noted that even if it were to be successful with its patent claims, it would not expect to be able to get much financial return from the company. The little discovery that SCO has produced regarding IBM’s patent claims make clear that there is insufficient economic reason to pursue these claims, it stated.
Since SCO’s sales have been, and are, limited, a finding of infringement would yield only the most modest royalty or award of damages and would not justify the expense of continuing prosecution of these claims, it added.
IBM filed its patent counterclaims in August 2003, claiming that SCO had violated patents related to data compression, graphical menu trees, electronically delivered data objects, and methods for monitoring and recovering subsystems in a distributed/clustered environment.