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Red Hat fires back at SCO in Linux fight

The company said it wants SCO held accountable for 'deceptive' actions

By Linda Rosencrance
August 4, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Red Hat Inc. said today that it has filed a formal complaint in the U.S. District Court of Delaware against The SCO Group Inc. in an effort to show that it hasn't infringed on SCO's intellectual property. It also said it hopes to hold SCO accountable for what it called "unfair and deceptive" actions.
The move follows a threat last month from SCO that it could file copyright infringement lawsuits against companies that use Linux if they don't license its UnixWare technology. Lindon, Utah-based SCO claims that IBM distributed Unix code that SCO owns in versions of the free Linux operating code, and it has filed a $3 billion suit against IBM.
"We filed this complaint to stop SCO from making unsubstantiated and untrue public statements attacking Red Hat Linux and the integrity of the open-source software development process," Mark Webbink, Red Hat's general counsel, said in a statement.
Bryan Sims, Red Hat's vice president of business affairs and general counsel, said the Raleigh, N.C.-based company has asked the court to determine that it hasn't infringed on SCO's copyright or misappropriated any of SCO's trade secrets.
"We also brought a claim under the Lanham Act for false advertising and unfair competition under federal law that the statements that SCO was making are deceptive and untrue," he said.
Sims said Red Hat also filed a complaint under the state of Delaware's deceptive trade practices act.
"We also filed three other claims [under state law], one for unfair competition, one for trade libel, meaning they disparaged our trademark by making these untrue and unfair statements, and one saying they intentionally and wrongfully interfered with our business relationships," Sims said.
Red Hat is also seeking a preliminary injunction barring SCO from continuing its claims that Red Hat's Linux violates SCO's intellectual property, he said.
In the statement, Red Hat said it has also established the Open Source Now Fund to cover legal expenses associated with any infringement claims brought against companies that run Linux.
Red Hat is pledging $1 million to the fund, which will help cover the legal costs of companies developing software under the General Public License and nonprofit institutions supporting those companies.
SCO officials couldn't be reached immediately for comment.

Read more about Linux and Unix in Computerworld's Linux and Unix Topic Center.

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