A legal move by AutoZone Inc. could further stall SCO Group Inc.'s myriad lawsuits against Linux users and vendors. If successful, it would postpone an AutoZone decision until the initial suit SCO brought against IBM, scheduled for trial in April 2005, is decided. AutoZone last week asked a U.S. District Court to require SCO to provide specifics on how it's violating SCO's Unix copyrights or stop proceedings until a suit Red Hat Inc. filed last year against SCO is resolved. Earlier this year, a U.S. District Court judge issued a stay in proceedings in the Red Hat case until the SCO-IBM case is decided.
If granted, AutoZone's request for a stay also could damage SCO's plan to convince all Linux users they face legal risk if they refuse to purchase SCO software licenses. SCO also has sued Novell and DaimlerChrysler Corp. Says David Byer, a partner in the patent and intellectual property practice at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault LLP, "If [the AutoZone] case is put on ice, it could undermine that strategy."