Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Caldera Government IBM The Courts News

IBM Drops Patent Counterclaims 137

Posted by Zonk
from the why-prolong-the-inevitable dept.
Mr. Slant writes "According to this article on Groklaw, IBM is dropping their patent counter-claims. Why? It's not because they think they'd lose, but rather because SCO wants to waste more time litigating. There's still some question over whether SCO will be able to pay the rest of their legal bills, given how much cash they're losing each quarter." From the article: "Here's a simple rule of litigation. You never, ever offer to drop anything you think you'll need for victory or to make yourself whole. Litigation is always a cost-benefit analysis. You have to have the prospect of a sizable enough win to pay your lawyer, or you will find it hard to get one, or, like Boies Schiller, the lawyer will want its money up front. IBM did the math, and SCO isn't looking like deep pockets any more, is it, now that Boies Schiller has drained them of pretty much all they had? So, IBM's practical analysis apparently was that it's worth more to get the thing over with on time than to go after counterclaims against a defendant with no money in its pocket to pay damages or royalties, even when IBM won. Plus, there is some strategy here too. Sometimes in chess, you'll let a pawn be sacrificed to set up a checkmate."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM Drops Patent Counterclaims

Comments Filter:
  • Oh, please. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Enough fanboying already. We know SCO sucks. That sort of sentiment just makes you look desperate in a very SCO-ish way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:17PM (#13742791)
    This thing is still going on? What the hell? Can't they just get it over with and die?
  • by charon_1 (562573) on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:18PM (#13742794)
    "the lawyer will want its money up front."
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:18PM (#13742800) Homepage Journal

    Dear Darl & Chris,
    I'll have a Big Mac, large fries and a Coke.
    Thanks!
  • by philovivero (321158) on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:19PM (#13742804) Homepage Journal
    The state of litigation in the United States is so bad. I've been very closely involved with another lawsuit where the plaintiff was very SCO-like. In the end, he suffered no real harm in his litigious behaviour. The defendents lost tens of thousands of dollars... to the lawyers.

    The judge, even when presented with overwhelming evidence that the case was frivolous, let it go ahead.

    From this vantage-point, it looks like the lawyers and judges have set up a system where such litigation is encouraged, and the only winners are... you guessed it, the lawyers and judges.
    • Someone just learned a bit more about the world today? ;)
    • As far as I know, they're only dropping the patent counter claims, not any of the other counter-claims (Lanham Act, Unfair practicies, Copyright Violation, Breach of Contract).

      SCO is trying to assert that the patent counter-claims will require even more discovery, and IBM has decided that they can put the screws to SCO without using them, and is dropping them in an attempt to get this over with.
      • Besides, it's always possible IBM will lose one of their counter-claims. A lot of things can happen in court, and an untested patent owned by a large company is better than a patent against which a claim has been lost any day. In the risk/reward game, with SCO's bankroll as the only possible reward, it becomes a no-brainer.
    • SCO gonna get the punished all right, IBM only dropped one of their counterclaims. As they have several more, and since SCO tried to use this one to delay even more, IBM simply dropped it counting on the others to be more than eunuch to do SCO in.
    • One of the main reasons that IBM dropped the claims is that there will be no SCOX left once the rest of the case finishes.

      You have two options:

      1. Hit them with 70% of your arsenal. This will take two years to complete, and you are guaranteed to win everything they have.
      2. Hit them with everything, which will take five years to complete, and you are guaranteed to win everything they have.

      Same reward, one just happens a *LOT* sooner. Pretty simple choice.
    • I dislike the fact that the justice system has become such a joke that media coverage frequently refers to legal decisions as if they're game maneuvers. Litigation should not be a game where you make moves and counter-moves, it should be a very straightforward process that distinguishes right and wrong.

      I think the restrictions placed on corporations should be such that there is no cost-benefit analysis and the system can't be played like a game. If it's found that a company stole technology, participat
    • In your world, the Judges benefit... how exactly?

      I'm so tired of people shouting "tort reform!" You have no idea what you're talking about. The frequency of "frivolous lawsuits" is incredibly low. However, the motivation for powerful companies which are often on the receiving end of *legitimate* lawsuits to try and get legislative protection from being sued is enormous.

      Take, for instance, medical insurance companies. They would have you believe that "virtually every suit" is frivolous. That could not b
  • Awww... (Score:4, Funny)

    by ElGameR (815688) on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:19PM (#13742805)
    I really wanted to see two large companies locked in an epic duel to the death in the arena of US Federal Courts, only to have the SCO beheaded due to lack of funds! Well, anyway, I'm off to english class...
  • Go Go Big Blue (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fragmentate (908035) * <jdspilled&gmail,com> on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:20PM (#13742807) Journal
    I'm glad they decided to pull back. It shows how savvy they really are.

    But who can remember when IBM was the monstrosity of the market? When they were the litigious ones? The stiff-suited giant wasn't always this open to reason. I think what sets them apart is they wised up, where others believe they will always be the status-quo.

    IBM used to think that... Now they know you have to constantly raise the bar. This action shows they know how to.
  • by vlad_petric (94134) on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:22PM (#13742817) Homepage
    The much more interesting story from groklaw is that SCO's motion for further delay was denied [groklaw.net]
    • Good. I am really getting tired of this SCO suit. As another poster said, it would be hard to find an example of a more frivolous lawsuit, and yet it has continued on and on, wasting money of several companies (including SCO's own money, which they got from fooled investors). I hesitate to call for tort reform, however, because I have little faith in the current US government to do it well (and I'm not being "anti-republican," the democrats are just as bad in my view).
    • Oh my god, I just read on the same page they are _still_ in discovery! What gives? If SCO _still_ does not have the evidence they need how could any sane judge let the discovery period continue for this long?
  • IBM's Cunning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) <<shadow.wrought> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:22PM (#13742820) Homepage Journal
    IBM has some very smart legal folks working on their behalf and this is a pretty clever move on their side. They're not going to get money on the counterclaims to balance the cost of pursuing them and SCOX's delaying tactics have been based off of having to defend themselves against the counterclaims.

    It would be intersting to know if this was IBM's strategy all along. Often time lawyers (especially prosecutors) will add extraneous items to a complaint or motion just so they can then kick it out later and look like the good guy.

    SO they are either smart or really smart.

  • by linumax (910946) on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:22PM (#13742822)
  • by FlyByPC (841016) on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:28PM (#13742866) Homepage
    "Well, we would sue you, but even though we win, your sorry company wouldn't be able to pay, anyway..."

    I like it. Not only is SCO looking pretty pitiful these days, but to be basically deemed to not be worth the six cents for the bullet to put it out of its misery is, I think, a fitting punishment.

    And IBM as the good guys. Wow. Maybe if they keep this up, I'll forgive them for MicroChannel...
  • by NetRanger (5584) * on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:29PM (#13742869) Homepage
    I think IBM has the right idea here. SCO is obviously attempting to delay the inevitable at this point, so anything that will shed complexity from this worthless case is A Good Thing(tm).

    That being said, I think IBM has little worry about SCO's position at this point, as SCO is poised to burn through its remaining cash reserves RSN. I think the Nazgûl are just eager to at least recoup some legal expenses out of this row before Novell cleans the rest out.

    Ahhh, see how the vultures circle the wounded animal...
    • Novell's claims would be paid before IBM's, for the simple fact that the money that Novell is sueing SCO for is Novell's money to begin with, as per the APA. Whereas the money IBM is sueing for is for damages resulting from SCO's erratic behaviour.
  • by lildogie (54998) on Friday October 07, 2005 @05:30PM (#13742880)
    IBM knows they have what it takes to crush SCO, so they don't have to use the nuclear option (i.e. their patent portfolio).

    Plus they want to get their revenge before SCO starves to death. No use kicking a dead horse, eh?
  • Is it really that simple, just wise plotting on the part of IBM? Something tells me that this isn't really over yet... If winning the lawsuit isn't the point, perhaps tenderizing SCO to the point of being ready to sell out is?

    I think if IBM owned any remaining IP from SCO it would make an interesting situation.

    Given IBM's recent 'play nice with Linux' attitude, that would be very interesting indeed. I don't think that the wounds that IBM got from fighting with Microsoft have ever really healed. With the wor
    • SCO was ready to sell out from day 1.

      IBM was never willing to legitimize that play.

      IBM's worried about their reputation. Essentially, SCO said, "You violated a contract with us! You damaged us! Let's negotiate a settlement!"

      IBM slaps SCO, and says, "We never violate contracts with anyone. Our word is binding, and we've never damage anyone in any such fashion. See you in court."

      SCO then went on a media barrage, claiming IBM hurt them in 8 million ways, violating this and/or that agreement, releasing confiden
      • Nobody ever got screwed for working with IBM.

        Haha [kuro5hin.org], etc.
        • Yeah, but I'm not sure about that story.

          I'm very willing to believe that IBM's consulting projects are consistently overbudget and late.

          However, the ONE place where that doesn't seem out of place is at a DEFENSE CONTRACTOR.

          Those HUGE military-industrial complex corporations practically invented "Bloat".

          Seriously; When a defense contractor publishes information on a project that was on-budget and on-time, its the rare exception, not the rule.

          I don't know who to believe; but at a whim I'd say that IBM was pro
  • Sometimes in chess, you'll let a pawn be sacrificed to set up a checkmate.

    Sometimes? If all it takes is a pawn sacrifice, I would say *always*.

    But then again, I haven't been following this game move by move.. I'm just waiting for the Deep Blue victory.
    • Sometimes? If all it takes is a pawn sacrifice, I would say *always*.

      Only if the setup is a sure thing. If you know that if you offer the pawn and it's taken, it will inevitably lead to checkmate, then yes, you always do it. More often, you just do it for a better position, in which you might get a checkmate later on.

      Another way to interpret the sentence is to say that it sometimes happens, rather than always, because most players aren't able to detect that opportunity 100% of the time.

  • Kinda like in Sin City, only not as appetizing, thankfully the buzzards have already picked the corpse clean.
  • by ShadyG (197269) <bgraymusic&gmail,com> on Friday October 07, 2005 @06:38PM (#13743277) Homepage
    In chess, you'll sacrifice your queen, both rooks, and every other damn piece available if it gets you a checkmate. There's no pyrrhic victory here, only win, lose, or draw. Bad analogy.
    • In chess, you'll sacrifice your queen, both rooks, and every other damn piece available if it gets you a checkmate. There's no pyrrhic victory here, only win, lose, or draw. Bad analogy.

      You're perfectly happy to drop 9 out of 10 claims if the tenth will nail them well enough to the wall. Like in chess, they are speeding up the process by ignoring some material to get the victory. It's like winning with one queen in move 50 instead of three queens in move 150, both will get you 1-0. It is the same with SCO b
    • In chess, you'll sacrifice your queen, both rooks, and every other damn piece available if it gets you a checkmate.

      An opportunity that sometimes, not always, comes up in chess, which is clearly what the original poster meant.

  • After reading this quote

    Litigation is always a cost-benefit analysis.

    Funny, I always thought that the point of lititation was to uncover the truth and gain justice. (sigh) I guess it's back to La-La Land for me, where Law isn't just another business weapon.
  • If a lawyer doesn't think the person being sued is able to pay out, or if the lawyer thinks the person being sued has better "team" of lawyers than you do, you're pretty much out of luck unless you can front them the money. After all, it is in the best interest of the lawyer to somehow get the money, and there's no point to sueing the poor or corporate giants.
    • If a lawyer doesn't think the person being sued is able to pay out, or if the lawyer thinks the person being sued has better "team" of lawyers than you do, you're pretty much out of luck unless you can front them the money. After all, it is in the best interest of the lawyer to somehow get the money, and there's no point to sueing the poor or corporate giants.

      Well, yeah, you're right. If you hire an ambulance chaser who only gets his cut from your judgement, that is. If you want a real lawyer who doesn't

  • Let me try...

    Our news crew watched first hand a real world David vs. Goliath battle today. In a spectacular display of heroism a lone little firefighter took on a might Oak in order to rescue a helpless kitten from its treacherous branches.
  • partially by the poem in TFA, and partially by the story itself, I've updated my sig...

     
  • Be the bigger man. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xmorg (718633)
    IBM is showing a little character here. We as the Linux community, dont want to stoop to their level. Just let them stew in their own bills, and die quietly.

    The more you sue the more press they get. We want SCO to die like scrooge... alone, and unloved.
  • by wintermute42 (710554) on Friday October 07, 2005 @08:27PM (#13743936) Homepage

    I was very surprised to see SCO shares selling for slightly more than $4 US. As others have noted, SCO is doomed. The Linux community hates them, it is difficult to imagine that they will gain any new customers and they have no intellectual property that is worth much.

    What is odd is that SCO stock is very thinly traded. Under 2K shares changed hands today. With such thin trading, it is tempting to speculate that most of the stock is help by lawyers and SCO executives. They should trade a few shares among themselves to keep the stock price up, keeping what is, in effect, a shell company, looking like it was real.

    Otherwise we must assume that that the Efficient Market Hypothesis has ever more holes in it that previously believed. How, after all, could "the market" value SCO at much more than zero.

  • Last quarter SCO had just about one quarter's worth of cash and equivalents left. It will be interesting to see if and how they scavenged enough money to keep going.

    It's time for Darl the Optimist to tell us about the plans for SCOForum again I guess.

    Their http://money.cnn.com/quote/sec/sec.html?symb=SCOX [cnn.com] previous 10Q makes for amusing reading:

    We expect that our UNIX business will generate sufficient cash in the year ending October 31, 2005 to cover its own costs as well as the internal costs for ou

  • I wouldn't compare that to sacrificing a pawn...it's sacrificing a rook at least. IANAL, but the patent claim looked like a freight train that was going to bowl SCO over even if they had a chance of winning the original claim.
  • OLD NEWS (Score:2, Insightful)

    This was yesterday's news. Reality is that IBM was "considering" this move. At Friday's hearing the judge told the Attorneys for SCO to "get fucked" when it came to requesting more information and wanting to Disposition 25 additional people. SCO got 10 more people but so did IBM. Reality is that this doesn't do jack for SCO since they weren't given any more time to talk to these guys. It's a wash though since IBM gets to talk 10 more SCO folks. Given the attrition at SCO this means that IBM get to tal
    • At Friday's hearing the judge told the Attorneys for SCO to "get fucked" when it came to requesting more information and wanting to Disposition 25 additional people.

      Were the people angry or sad?

      Did you mean "depose," I really think you did.

      It's a deposition and you depose witnesses.

      Thanks for your time.

  • "IBM did the math, and SCO isn't looking like deep pockets any more , is it, now that Boies Schiller has drained them of pretty much all they had?"

    You really can't write that.

    For a proportion of readers writing the spoken word, as above, causes a traffic jam of words, and the sentence has to be re-read.

  • Well... (Score:2, Funny)

    by fabioaquotte (902367)
    I guess this goes to show the strength of SCO's case, the big blue is already starting to shake.

Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine

Working...