Here is the transcript of the AutoZone hearing. You will see that many of the stories you have been reading in the press about what happened at the hearing were not accurate. Well, what else is new? That's what transcripts are for.
As you will remember, there were three AutoZone motions before the court, the Motion to Stay, the Motion to Transfer, and the Motion for a More Definite Statement. Only the Motion to Stay was ruled on at the hearing. There was no ruling on the Motion to Transfer at this time. In fact, after AutoZone presented its argument on that point, when SCO's attorney asked if he should present argument on the matter, the judge told him no, that he was just going to order a stay. The Motion for a More Definite Statement never got discussed by either side, for the same reason, presumably. Later, if the stay is ever lifted, those issues can resurface.
Everything was stayed, with 90-day reports, just like in the Red Hat stay, with the only difference being that SCO has a brief discovery period, 30 days, and then can try to come up with a preliminary injunction request, and to do that they get one round of discovery, with the discovery limited to facts predicate to a preliminary injunction, meaning they have to try to demonstrate that allowing AutoZone to continue to boot up their computers every day is causing SCO irreparable harm. We know that is silly, but the judge is new to the case, as you will see in the transcript, still getting up to speed on the facts here.
This is the second time an overworked judge has given them something they didn't ask for, however, the first being Red Hat's stay, and, in my opinion, this was something they didn't merit. In the transcript, you'll hear SCO's attorney saying, after the judge mentions allowing them discovery regarding preparing a preliminary injunction, that he, the attorney, had better shut up now. That was a a little slip on his part. He's revealing his glee that he got something he never dreamed of even asking for, and he's indicating that he'd best say no more and just quit while he is ahead. I'll be interested to see if that is the last word from AutoZone, because it was an odd ruling. They might just put their energy into fighting the preliminary injunction, if and when it pops up. And judges do have a lot of discretion.
Later, after AutoZone tells the judge that SCO never asked for a preliminary injunction, and you'll hear what sounds like a surprised "Ah!" from the judge, he then tells SCO that they can't go on a fishing expedition, that they are limited in their discovery and that if they do not qualify for a preliminary injunction, they shouldn't do discovery at all. It was all very strange. The impression I formed was that, with all due respect, he goofed, not being altogether clear on everything in this case from the papers, and thought they had asked for a preliminary injunction, and rather than say he made a mistake, he tried to just bluster through. He tells AutoZone that their caseload is much lighter now in that district, but judging from this hearing, I have my doubts.
He justifies the preliminary injunction opportunity by saying that in SCO's papers on the motion to stay, they argue that a stay would prejudice them. I checked the document, and indeed, on page 12, they write that a stay should be denied because it "would severely prejudice SCO by allowing AutoZone to continue to infringe on its copyrights unimpeded for an unknown period of time." On page 14, they say that infringement of copyrights constitutes irreparable harm that entitles the copyright holder to injunctive relief. But the only relief they asked for, on page 22, was that AutoZone's motions be denied. They never asked for a preliminary injunction. In effect, the judge gave them what he thought they should have asked for and didn't. It's mighty peculiar to me, but I don't know much about Nevada and that circuit. But here's what sticks out: because SCO didn't ask for a preliminary injunction, AutoZone never had an opportunity to argue against one. Their lawyer tried to do so at the hearing, but the judge cut him off and wouldn't let him argue it. So, he gives one side something that the other side never had an opportunity to address. I don't think that's the way it's supposed to be.
If they present a preliminary injunction request and they clearly don't qualify for it, he may get a better bead on them. And he won't like it. Assuming the fix isn't in, and I don't see anything concrete yet to think that it is. What is more likely to happen is disputes over interpretations of his order, some of which began already in the courtroom, with SCO angling for more. I expect some real nastiness in their preliminary injunction, but I don't want to give them any ideas by laying out what I see specifically.
So, no doubt SCO will present a prelim, which will probably be denied, and then everything else is stayed. Actually, it's all stayed now anyway, no matter what the preliminary injunction ruling turns out to be. That's it. SCO did not get 60 days to do discovery, only 30. The judge clearly stated he thinks IBM and Red Hat, because it's the licensor, should go ahead of AutoZone, in order to avoid duplicative effort, so for now, everything else is put on a back burner. So, the bottom line is, SCO lost another motion, and they got a chance to do limited discovery, which won't matter in the end at all. They stood on their heads in the motion papers trying to make this the first case to be heard, ahead of IBM's. That has been turned down, which has implications in Utah, because there is no pending AutoZone case now that they can argue should go ahead of IBM.
It is a Groklaw transcript, not an official court transcript, so, while I tried to do a perfect job, any errors are mine, not the court's. You can get an official transcript from them directly for a small fee if you need one. I want to thank LHJ for helping me with this, and in fact he did the bulk of it. We had to guess by voices who was speaking in some cases, and it's certainly possible that we made a mistake. Where we weren't reasonably sure, we said "Unknown". If any of the parties wish any corrections made, kindly contact me.
The participants at the hearing were Judge Robert C. Jones, and for SCO Stanley Parry, with Curran & Parry, the local Nevada firm, (you'll see him listed on the complaint, and you have to admit, Parry is a good name for a lawyer), David Stone and Bob Magnanini from Boies, Schiller, and SCO's corporate counsel Ryan Tibbitts. For AutoZone, we have James Pisanelli of Schreck Brignone, the Nevada firm for AZ, and David Stewart and Michael Kenny from Alston & Bird, all of whose names you will see on AutoZone's Motion to Transfer.
Both sides begin with the local Nevada firm speaking, but then they turn it over to Boies Schiller's David Stone for SCO and David Stewart of Alston & Bird for AutoZone.
David Stone is the Administrative Partner in Boies Schiller's New Jersey office. He is a Harvard man, both college and law school, so no doubt a brainiac. He worked on the Yankees case with Boies and prior to joining that firm he participated in the appeal in State of Rhode Island v. Claus Von Bulow (maybe you saw the TV show about that case) and helped defend W.R. Grace in City of Woburn v. W. R. Grace -- which reminds me: don't ever believe any movies about trials because they are never accurate either -- and was involved in various litigations involving the Doris Duke estate (litigation is what often happens when the very rich die; lawyers can get a lot of money from doing estate work), and he's a specialist in antitrust law. The Boies Schiller site also says this:
"In addition, Mr. Stone also serves as Vice Chairman and General Counsel of the Federal Enforcement & Homeland Security Foundation, Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall Law School in the area of antitrust and complex commercial litigation, and on the Boards of the Directors of the Federal Drug Agents Foundation, the Smart Family Foundation and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center."
For AutoZone, doing most of the talking was Mr. Stewart and there is a picture of him on the linked-to page. Here is what the Alston & Bird web site tells us about him. First, he is a partner, and his specialty is IP law and domain-name matters (he's done more than a dozen UDRP cases). He heads up the firm's Atlanta Trademark Group and is a member of the firm's Intellectual Property-Litigation Group. This is a large firm, with more than 600 attorneys, by the way. He is not learning IP law on the job here, in short.
He defended Warner Bros. in a copyright and trademark lawsuit, Leigh v. Warner Bros., 212 F.3d 121, involving the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", "in which the Eleventh Circuit became the first federal circuit court to rule that an artist cannot acquire trademark rights in an artistic style." He also was lead trial counsel for Umbro International, Inc., in a cyberpiracy case (I love that area of law) "that was the first case cited by the US Senate as support for its passage of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999 (ACPA)." He has represented Cable News Network also in connection with some ACPA cases, and he helped establish that "jurisdiction is proper in the district on the grounds that the registry for the domain name is located in the forum." This impresses me a lot. It's all very well to rely on earlier work, but to make new law is harder. The case was Cable News Network LP, LLLP v. cnnews.com, 162 F. Supp2d 484 (E.D.Va. 2001). He is also involved currently in challenging popup and popunder ads -- think Gator -- and thank you very much for that.
He has written several articles, including "Does Your Domain Name Subject You to Nationwide Jurisdiction", (published in the August 7, 2000 issue of The National Law Journal), "Help, Hackers Stole Our Name!", and "The First Amendment and Rights of Publicity: Is Parody a Legitimate Defense to Rights of Publicity Claims?" (Southeastern Intellectual Property Newsletter of Law and Policy (November 1997)). He graduated from Vanderbilt School of Law and was editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review, which means that he too was the cream of the crop.
He's also a member of INTA, the International Trademark Association, "a not-for-profit worldwide membership organization of trademark owners", and they have a trademark forum that in the good old days, when I had time to do fun things, (not that Groklaw/Grokline/Grokdoc aren't fun, but they are all-consuming at the moment) I used to enjoy reading, because the archives are publicly available, to try to learn and keep up-to-date. The law is so complex that lawyers need each other to help out when arcane things come up, and that is what you see on the tmtopics forum. Here is Mr. Stewart on tmtopics, assuming it may be the very same, answering a trademark question.
But here is the part that will interest many of you the most: between college and law school, he worked "as a computer science analyst for the Allison Gas Turbine Division of General Motors where he was responsible for the initial system design and implementation of an original just in time inventory system." He's a geek!
So we won't have to grit our teeth and listen to him ever say things that are technically ridiculous, as we do in this transcript, where SCO's attorney says that without source code, you can't run software. I wish that were true, actually, because then Microsoft, who is behind all this SCO viciousness, would be out of business, as would SCO, but it's not true.
The SCO Group v. AutoZone
July 12, 2004
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Judge Robert C. Jones: SCO Group and AutoZone? [pause] Good morning. Your appearances, please.
Stanley Parry for SCO: Good morning, Your Honor. Stanley Parry on behalf of SCO Group and with me this morning is
-- I'll let them introduce themselves -- but David Stone is to my right.
David Stone for SCO: Good morning, Your Honor. With Boies, Schiller & Flexner.
Robert Magnanini for SCO: Bob Magnanini, also from Boies, Schiller & Flexner.
Parry: And also corporate counsel Ryan Tibbitts is here with us . Your Honor, we have a motion pro hac vice to allow Mr. Magnanini and Mr. Stone to appear and argue this motion. Could that be granted at this point?
Judge Jones: That would be granted in the normal course and they certainly may argue this morning, without, assuming without objection.
Stone: Thank you, Your Honor.
James Pisanelli for AutoZone: Good morning, Your Honor. James Pisanelli from Schreck Brignone. I'm here with co-counsel from Alston & Bird, Dave Stewart and Mike Kenny.
Both Stewart and Kenny: Good morning.
Pisanelli: Mr. Stewart will be handling our argument.
Judge Jones: OK.
Stewart: Good morning, Your Honor. As you know, we've got three motions before you this morning, a Motion to Transfer, a Motion to Stay, and a Motion for a More Definite Statement. And if you have a preference as to which of those motions you'd like to hear first, I'll certainly. . .
Judge Jones: My preference is to hear all of them from you at the same time, [laughter] but of course one at a time, as you may present the argument.
Stewart: That's what I'll do, and I'll start with the Motion to Transfer and will do my best not to just parrot back our brief to you but sort of hit the high points.
Judge Jones: I've read it.
Stewart: On the Motion to Transfer, it is certainly true, as SCO has pointed out, that ordinarily the plaintiff's choice of forum is not to be disturbed lightly on a motion to transfer. However, the law in this circuit is established, as it is in other circuits as well, that that rule goes out the window essentially if the plaintiff chooses to file outside their home district, and in particular, the Ninth Circuit has said, as we've cited in our brief, that if the plaintiff chooses to file outside its home forum, its choice of forum is to be given "minimal consideration".
There are a number of factors that this court has recognized that are properly considered in connection with a motion to transfer brought under 28 U.S.C. Section 1404(a), as this motion is. First is convenience of the witnesses, second is access to proof, third is convenience of the parties, and fourth is the interest of justice. All four of these factors, we believe, overwhelmingly support transfer of this case to the Western District of Tennessee, which is the district to which we requested this case be transferred, and this case could have been filed there originally, because that's the district where AutoZone's principal residence is.
With regard to the convenience of the witnesses, it is undisputed that not a single relevant witness with material knowledge or information is present within this judicial district. All of the witnesses with knowledge regarding the UNIX code that SCO purports to own reside outside this district and more importantly, the most critical witnesses here, those are the witnesses who have knowledge of AutoZone's alleged infringement of that code, are employees or former employees of AutoZone's IT group and all reside in Memphis. Transfer of the case, naturally, will therefore be more convenient for the witnesses if the case is heard where those witnesses are located.
In terms of access to proof, again all of the relevant documents and code regarding the alleged infringement are located in Memphis. Although it is certainly true, as SCO has pointed out, that in this day and age of CD ROMS and broadband internet connections, documents can be transferred without a horrible amount of burden, the fact remains that is a relevant factor to consider and it weighs in favor of a transfer of the case to Memphis.
With regard to the convenience of the parties, neither party resides here. Both parties will therefore have to fly to get here and fly all the witnesses here for trial and for substantive hearings or motions in the case. Because AutoZone resides in Memphis, naturally it's much more convenient for it to try the case there, and it's not much less inconvenient, if *any* less convenient, for SCO to try this case in Memphis as opposed to trying it here. Again, they're going to have to travel. . .
Judge Jones: Were all these motions presented to the Red Hat court? Certainly a motion to stay was presented to that court.
Stewart: No, actually there was no motion to transfer in that case. The court issued the stay sua sponte. . .
Judge Jones: I see.
Stewart: . . . But did so based upon a statement that SCO made to the court in connection with the Motion to Dismiss the declaratory judgment complaint on ripeness grounds that it would likely move to stay the case because controlling issues are involved in the IBM case. And the court appears to have picked up on that and that appears to be the cause for the stay. Red Hat has moved for, has requested that the court reconsider that order and has requested that the court lift the stay. Naturally, counsel for SCO can address those issues better than I can. My understanding is, though, that those issues are fully briefed and awaiting decision by the judge in Delaware.
And, finally, the interest of justice. The Western District of Tennessee has a greater interest in adjudicating the merits of this claim because that's where the alleged infringement took place and the case load is substantially lighter in the Western District of Tennessee on the civil side than it is here, and as a consequence of that, naturally the Western District of Tennessee is able to get its civil cases to trial much more quickly. In fact, in 2003, the average was 18 months from the date of filing to trial in the Western District of Tennessee versus 32 months. . .
Judge Jones: That's not true here any more. We have two additional judgeships. Our case load is down now. Mine is below 300. And the average is 375. We can get a case to trial as soon as you want to set it.
Judge Jones: I can set it in the next six months. I can set it in four months. Or even next month, if you want it. [laughs]
Stewart: I'm not sure we'll be ready to try it that quickly. [laughter] But for reasons I'll address in a moment, in connection with the Motion to Stay, all of these issues are already being litigated elsewhere, particularly a case that is substantially further down the road. I think it's premature in this case to be thinking about a stay, pardon me, to be thinking about a trial, when . . .
Judge Jones: That's the main concern for me, is just duplicative effort.
Judge Jones: Whether I should simply... the better choices are to either transfer it to that court or to simply stay it here, like Delaware did.
Stewart: Well, I will tell you, Your Honor, our client's principal interest is in the stay. It doesn't want to be investing the substantial time and energy and money into litigating this case when SCO has already brought all of the issues that are relevant to this case in litigation elsewhere, where all of these issues are already in front of courts in Utah and Delaware, and the Motion to Transfer is filed because it does believe that eventually if it becomes appropriate for a stay to be lifted, that this case should go forward in the Western District of Tennessee, it appeared to us that now is the appropriate time to raise that motion, but certainly that's in Your Honor's discretion, and ultimately it is the stay that we are most interested in this morning.
The... with regard to case loads, it sounds like that's changed recently. The most recent statistics from the Western District of Tennessee are, though, that there are an average of 269 civil cases per judge in that district.
The only connection of any kind between this litigation and this forum is the fact that AutoZone's incorporated here. Now we don't, obviously by any means, intend to say that it was improper for this case to be filed here. We're not arguing over jurisdiction. It's simply a convenience of the parties/forum non conveniens type analysis. And this court has recognized in both the Cambridge Filter and Miracle Blade cases that if all you've got to justify keeping the court in this district is the fact that one or more of the defendants is incorporated here, that that alone is not sufficient to outweigh the balance of the Section 1404 factors. And we'd submit that this case should be transferred to the Western District of Tennessee for those reasons.
Now, SCO in its response brief has addressed the possibility of transcribing the case to Utah. We've addressed those issues. We don't believe it's any more appropriate to transfer this case to Utah than it is to leave it here. I'd be happy to address those points, if you'd like to hear them.
Judge Jones: I would. What is the status, primarily, what is the status of the cases pending in Utah?
Stewart: Again, I'll give you my understanding but I will defer to SCO's counsel to make sure that I'm getting all the facts right. I'm sort of looking over everyone's shoulders, watching what's going on. My understanding is that at present, SCO has filed a motion to dismiss IBM's tenth counterclaim. That tenth counterclaim is a counterclaim that IBM filed to say, essentially, "Nothing in Linux infringes any rights that SCO purports to own in UNIX." We believe all of the issues in the present case were already in front of the court in the IBM case prior to the filing of that counterclaim and in fact, as I'll talk about in a moment . . .
Judge Jones: SCO filed a motion to dismiss or, or... IBM filed a motion for summary judgment for . . .
Judge Jones: . . . failure to allow discovery?
SCO filed a motion to dismiss or stay the tenth counterclaim pending
resolution of this lawsuit, claiming that this was the first-filed suit
on those issues, and IBM has filed a motion for summary judgment on its
tenth counterclaim, saying that discovery has been completed, SCO says
it has complied with all of its discovery obligations, IBM's gone through
the code, there is no infringing code, and so IBM has moved for summary
judgment on that basis. My understanding is that the District Court in
Delaware has scheduled all of those motions for hearing on August 4.
And again, I'll ...
That's in Delaware?
No, that's in Utah. That's the IBM case in Utah.
All right. Delaware is scheduled for a hearing as well?
Those are scheduled for hearing?
The Utah court, the Utah court. That's the one I'm focusing on. That's the one
I'm trying to understand. How soon will we get an answer, so we can avoid
duplicative effort? How soon will we get an answer on the basic issue in IBM and
the Linux versus the Unix code?
Right, I'll have to answer that a couple of different ways. If the court grants
IBM's motion for summary judgment, it could be very quick.
Those issues are briefed, and the court's going to hear argument on that on August 4th. I don't know how quickly the court would rule after that, but if the court grants the motion, then it would, the case would be over.
If that case is decided against SCO, SCO has no cause of action against AutoZone.
Let me hear from SCO, please.
I'd like you to primarily address those two issues. Of course your argument
that it ought to be transferred to Utah.
I'm not too enamored with the idea of sending it to Tennessee, but it seems to
me that a very good option here is simply to stay it, briefly at least, until we see whether we are going to get an answer from the Utah court.
Your Honor, first of all I'd like to thank you for allowing me to argue here today.
I appreciate it.
If Your Honor will indulge me, I'd like to place this case in context,
because I think it's important towards the motions that are before Your
Honor to understand the context in which this cause was brought and
the importance of this case to SCO. And I think that the Complaint,
which is really focusing on the copyright infringement, doesn't give you
that overview. But since they've now brought in these other cases, I think
it's important to understand why they are not dispositive of this case
and why this case really is different to some extent from those cases.
UNIX is an operating system. It's an operating system which for twenty
years has been the dominant operating system on enterprise servers.
Enterprise servers are computers which run the most sophisticated software
in the United States and in the world. For example, Credit Suisse, the New
York Stock Exchange, most Fortune 500 companies use some version of this
Unix software, which was originally developed by AT&T. The reason they
use it is because it's got something called five 9's capability, which means
it's 99.999 error-free. It's very, very efficient. If Your Honor has
every used, for example, Microsoft Windows, and has noticed where it freezes
whenever you try to run any other new programs at the same time,
the value of something like Unix is that it's so error-free and so
efficient that when you're doing big, important operations or if you're
doing national, operations of national scope, you need a much more sophisticated
Several years ago a person named Linus Torvald, who's from Finland,
created a primitive version of a Unix-type operating system, which he
essentially put on the internet and invited people to contribute to it to
make it better. Basically, it's SCO's position that certain companies,
one of them being IBM, contributed code and other types of materials
that are protected by not only licensing agreements but copyright laws
to Linux for its own business purposes in order to create a competitor to
the Microsoft software and the Unix software, which SCO owns and which SCO
receives millions and millions of dollars in royalties from every year.
So that I understand.... I don't want to cut you off, please keep going,
but the issue of ownership is pending in the Utah Novell case, and the
issue of the conflict is pending in the IBM Utah case.
Your Honor, that's not quite accurate, if you'll allow me to.... The first
statement, I believe is somewhat accurate. In the Novell case,
what happened is that Novell was going around saying in the press,
"SCO doesn't own the copyrights, even though we sold them to SCO for
more than potentially 100 million dollars and even though for the
last, you know, umpteen years people have been paying royalties to
SCO and we've been receiving percentages of those royalties with the
understanding that SCO owned all this," but now they say SCO doesn't
own the copyrights. We sued them for essentially a slander of title.
It is not a copyright case. It is not a copyright infringement case.
It's a slander of title case, which was removed to the federal court.
That case, nothing has occurred in it at this point other than that
Judge Kimball has ruled that it's going to stay in the federal court.
There's been no discovery, nothing had happened.
As ... to just go on with my story, because I think it's important to
this in context. So one of the concerns that SCO has is entities such
as IBM and individuals who have access through their licensing agreements
with SCO to our source code, which is proprietary, using that and somehow
contributing either modifications, derivative works, concepts and methods,
or the code itself into Linux. That's one issue. There's a second issue.
The second issue is end users of Linux who had previously been SCO
customers, such as AutoZone, which used Unix System V, which is -- they
used our OpenServer software for many years, and paid us royalties for it --
migrating, what we call migrating to Linux. In other words, changing all
those computers all over the country and instead of running our software,
which is proprietary and they pay royalties on it, to Linux.
Now, there are many issues which can arise in this migration process,
which don't necessarily have to do with what's in Linux. For example,
we allege in our complaint that AutoZone has violated our copyrights
in something that's called static shared libraries. Static shared
libraries are an older version of libraries
that SCO used in its OpenServer software, which is the software that
they licensed to AutoZone. Since that time, these libraries have been
improved, and now there's something called dynamic shared libraries,
which is what Linux uses, because Linux was only recently created.
It wasn't created at the time of static shared libraries.
If you wanted to migrate from this OpenServer and take all the
applications which have been written to run on that operating system,
and then run them flawlessly on Linux, you need the static shared
libraries. And we have reason to believe, and that's why we allege it
in the complaint, that what they did is they copied our static shared
libraries which we ... they have licensed from us, which they owe us
royalties for, into these applications so they could run them on Linux.
That's something that has nothing to do with IBM or the IBM case, because
IBM does not use, to our knowledge, I mean we haven't had discovery yet,
but based on what we know, they don't use static shared libraries.
So that's an example of how this case could go in a totally different
direction than the IBM case, because the IBM case is about putting
things into Linux that you don't have a right to. This case is about
to illustrate to end users the problems that they have in migrating to
Linux and basically leaving our system without violating our copyrights.
So this case, if it was resolved on the static shared libraries, based on
what we know today -- we haven't had the discovery yet -- wouldn't
the IBM case at all.
So that's an example of why you can't just simply look at these cases
and say they're the same. They're not the same.
The other point about the IBM case, which I think is credible is that
that case was really brought, it was brought by SCO as a license,
breach of license case. We had a license which says to IBM that they
can have our source code, which is like the
keys to the kingdom -- if you don't have the source code, you can't
applications, you can't run the software, and so, you know, you're very
limited in what you can do -- so IBM paid us a lot of money for this
source code. They then modified it, created derivative works from it,
used methods and concepts in other products that they created, which
under our license we claim we control, that they cannot just release that
into the public ....
What's the status of that lawsuit?
That lawsuit is the lawsuit right now in which there is motions to
compel, motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment are pending.
What happened is in March of this year ....
Who's that before?
That's before Judge Kimball.
And how soon are those hearings set?
August 4th there's going to be an argument on that, Your Honor. But I
would point out that the likelihood of IBM getting summary judgment ...
their summary judgment motion was not based on material undisputed facts.
It was based on the fact that even though there were no copyright claims
asserted by either party in the case until February of this year, and
in fact IBM did not bring end user or any kind of claims until March
of this year, that somehow, you know, SCO has not given them sufficient
discovery, and therefore the court should just, as a sanction essentially
against SCO, grant summary judgment. I mean they're not saying that
they proved or the evidence shows that ....
Understand. Now Red Hat is ... was it through Red Hat that AutoZone
Linux? Yeah, what happened is when AutoZone made a decision to move
to Linux, it had to find a distributor of Linux to help it do that,
and Red Hat was the distributor that it found.
And the stay in the Red Hat case is applicable how long?
What the judge has done is put the case on an indefinite stay with 90-day status reports. We just recently reported to the judge within the
last two weeks as to what's going on in the IBM case, and the judge has
taken no action.
You've moved to dissolve the stay?
AutoZone -- I'm sorry, there's a lot of parties here -- Red Hat moved
for reconsideration of the judge's stay, and we opposed that, and the
judge has made no ruling on that to my knowledge at this point.
But, if I may, Your Honor, I don't know if you want me to address the
issues of transfer, because I don't ...
I don't think so. My inclination is to do just as the Red Hat court
has done. That is to give 90-day stays with status checks shortly
after status checks are due in the Red Hat case. They're the licensor.
But to except from the stay an opportunity for brief discovery and the
movement of an injunction, an injunction pending the case. So that ...
I mean your complaint is you know, we'll be hurt if you stay us ...
Yes, Your Honor.
... indefinitely. On the other hand, it occurs to me that, first of all
the IBM case, and secondarily the Red Hat case, which are the licensors
to AutoZone, those cases ought to be resolved, so the court can make
... without duplicating the effort, can make its final conclusions on
the case here.
So it seems to me that what I ought to do is impose a stay, just as
the Red Hat court has done. Put you on 90-day statuses, shortly after,
two weeks after the status is due to the Delaware court, but to
allow you an exception for the brief discovery necessary and for the
presentation of a motion for an injunction pending trial.
So Your Honor, if I understand you, you're going to allow us to
have some discovery on the infringement issue, to be able to show that
there's irreparable harm that could potentially arise from the ongoing
Enough to present an issue for preliminary injunction.
Thank you, your honor. Could you ... unless you have other issues you
want me to address, I think I ought to shut up.
I think I've understood pretty well, and I've reviewed your pleadings.
Thank you, judge.
Your honor, could I be heard on the point about discovery and a
Couple of points. First, SCO's never *asked* for a preliminary injunction
in any case.
Until today, they had never identified in this case anything that they
allege that AutoZone has done that somebody else didn't do. And they
don't even know if in fact AutoZone did it. They don't have any evidence
to point to to that. From what I've heard they don't even have good-faith
information and belief on which to base that claim. We're about ready to
engage on a fishing expedition. And it is hard to say how broad that's
going to be. It presumably could end up encompassing everything that's
also at issue in Red Hat and IBM and Novell. And so if we are going
to go down this road, I would like, I would ask the court to enter
additional guidance on the scope of the discovery so that it is perhaps
very limited to just what, if anything ...
I think the way I would limit it is I would give them 30 days to propound it.
That, the normal 30 day response time follows, of course. And it's,
I'm not going to limit SCO other than to say that it is limited to any
factual predicates or to obtain factual predicates to a request
for preliminary injunction. The only reason for doing that is because
they raised that issue in their responses, that they would be harmed
if the court simply held off and did not let them proceed here one way
or the other.
Your Honor, I just want to be clear, will we be permitted to take
depositions? It will be any type of discovery that is permitted under
My contemplation was to allow you during thirty days to propound discovery
sufficient to form a factual presentation to the court that you have
the right to a preliminary injunction. If you don't have the right to
a preliminary injunction, you shouldn't proceed with discovery at all.
But to answer your complaint that, yeah, you would be prejudiced by a
stay, because then users, end users, can proceed to use your copyrighted
materials without royalties, it occurred to me that I should give
you the opportunity to present a motion for a preliminary injunction,
and that would be the only exception to the stay. So there would be a
brief period. It would be, the discovery would be limited in time --
30 days, plus the normal, that's interrogs, the 30-day response time
to follow from your presentation, and any other discovery necessary,
but limited in scope only by the inquiry as to facts predicate to
preliminary injunction. Otherwise, you shouldn't go on a free-ranging
discovery course preparatory to a trial.
Your Honor, there is the rule 26 procedure that I consider discovery.
Are we dispensing with that right now, or did the court want us to ...?
We'll be staying the lawsuit, so you will not go through the normal 26
or 16 time periods and procedures with the magistrate judge.
And then Your Honor, just so it's kind of clear so that we don't have to
come back. Why doesn't the court say he can take like five depositions
or three depositions or something like that? Otherwise, I think we end
up coming back and arguing this all.
I'd be glad to pick an arbitrary number out of the air, but I think
maybe it makes sense for you to consult together.
Here's three or five that we need and this is why we need them, this is
why it's applicable.
I've always assumed that we could come back to the court, both parties ...
You can. I'm available on the telephone, of course, and the magistrate
judge would be too.
Your Honor, before we go too far down this road -- and I may very well be
a salmon swimming unsuccessfully upstream -- I respectfully request that the
court reconsider this part of its, the order that you're contemplating,
for several reasons. One -- and I've not looked at the standards of
the Ninth Circuit for the issuance of a preliminary injunction in some
time -- but my understanding is that you have to show irreparable harm.
It is clear in every circuit I can think of that the loss of a license
fee is not irreparable harm and cannot justify the entry of an injunction.
That is the only harm that we've heard today. The only other harm that
SCO has even alleged in any of their moving papers is a presumption of
irreparable harm that just naturally flows by law from proof of copyright
infringement. But that is a rebuttable presumption and in this case it's
easily rebutted, and just in terms of the irreparable harm factor for
the entitlement to a preliminary injunction, they've known about the ....
You're arguing the merits of a motion that is not even before me.
Your Honor, these issues are already before the court on the papers
that are in front of you, and so my point is that a preliminary,
giving them the opportunity to take discovery before preliminary
injunction that you can already ascertain they can't get will cause the
parties to engage in substantial time and expense that ultimately will
not be fruitful. They cannot ....
I don't think 60 days' worth is unnecessary time and expense. That will
be the order. I'll ask for counsel to prepare an order. Would you like
to undertake to prepare an order reflecting the stay, with the exception,
one-time exception, for motion for preliminary injunction?
We will, Your Honor.
And pass it by counsel. And then submit it to the court.
Thank you, Your Honor.
Unknown for SCO:
Your Honor, one last thing in your order is, they need to file
I guess they should put that in the order.
Your Honor, my understanding is the case has been stayed.
It will be stayed. They're not required to file an answer.