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Part of long-standing SCO-IBM lawsuit finally coming to a close

News has it that a part of the long-standing SCO-IBM lawsuit, that had been seen to be a substantial threat to Linux, is finally coming to a close. The suit has been dragging on for 20 years at a painstakingly slow speed, while being overseen by the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. As such, it’s not surprising that not many people are even aware that such a suit exists between the two companies, much less that it is aimed at Linux’s intellectual property.

SCO IBM lawsuit
Image Credits: IBM

A Settlement Agreement of $14,250,000

As per the Bankruptcy Court, SCO’s debtors, the TSG Group, have apparently settled with IBM, while also putting to rest all the remaining claims between IBM and TSG. As per a statement issued by the bank, under the terms of the agreement, both the parties involved have agreed to settle their disputes, regarding a payment being made to the “Trustee [TLD], on behalf of the Estates [IBM], of $14,250,000.

In return for the payment, TLD (formerly SCO) will be giving up all its rights and interests in the litigation claims that are either pending, or may be asserted in the future against either IBM or Red Hat, along with any allegations that Linux is in violation of intellectual property of SCO’s Unix or Unixware.

Now you may be wondering, why is TLD agreeing to settle matters after so many years? It’s because their case has always been a weak one (or so experts have been saying for years). Stanley B. Tarr, bankruptcy attorney at Blank Rome, TLD’s legal representative, himself said that in order to succeed at proving its claims of unfair competition, his client will have to prove to the jury that events that occurred many years ago actually harmed SCO through what is deemed to be unfair competition.

And even if TLD did succeed in backing its claims, chances are high that the amount in damages that it would recover would be significantly less than what it is obtaining now, in the form of the Settlement Agreement.

A Twist In The Tale

At the same time though, this isn’t really the end for the whole suit, as IBM and Red Hat are also being sued by Xinuos, which took over SCO’s IP and Unix products in 2011, over grounds of “illegally copying” its software codes for its server operating systems. This lawsuit came even after Xinuos’s CEO, Richard A. Bolandz, had said that even though the company was taking over SCO’s IP, it had no intention of pursuing the litigations filed by the latter had filed against IBM.