Citing delays in the discovery process of its $5 billion lawsuit with IBM, SCO has asked a Utah court to move back the trial date in the case by five months, to mid-September 2005.

The case has been "effectively stayed for four months," SCO said in a motion filed Monday. The company placed blame for the delays squarely on IBM. "IBM's untimely responses to discovery have hindered orderly prosecution of the case," SCO's lawyers wrote.

"We disagree with that and we'll respond to SCO's motion in court," said IBM Spokesman Mike Darcy, who declined to comment further on the motion.

In December, the judge presiding over the case, Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells, ordered SCO to provide more details about the intellectual property violations IBM is alleged to have committed by contributing Unix code to the Linux operating system. That ruling helped delay the discovery process, SCO said.

The case is presently scheduled to go to trial in April 2005, but SCO's motion asks that the date be changed to "approximately September 15, 2005."

The move to delay the trial came as no surprise to open source advocate Bruce Perens, who believes that SCO intends to drag out the lawsuit as long as possible. "From day one, everything they've been doing has been to delay this case," he said. "Swift resolution of the case is not to SCO's advantage because they're going to lose."

The delay in discovery came about because SCO has made unreasonable demands of IBM, Perens argued. "SCO is asking for things that were either impossible for IBM to provide or basically what SCO should not have been asking for," he said. "SCO asked for quite literally every version of Unix that IBM has made."