SCO Sues Novell

The SCO Group has sued Novell for what SCO alleges was Novell's "bad faith effort to interfere with SCO's rights with respect to UNIX and UnixWare."

January 20, 2004

2 Min Read
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The SCO Group has sued Novell for what SCO alleges was Novell's "bad faith effort to interfere with SCO's rights with respect to UNIX and UnixWare." The suit, filed in Utah state court in Salt Lake City, charges that Novell made false and misleading public claims that it, not SCO, owns Unix and Unixware copyrights, according to a statement released by SCO Tuesday afternoon.

The latest legal filings flew just as Linuxworld Expo is about to kick off in New York City -- and as Novell formally shows off the fruits of its acquisition of SUSE Linux to a few hundred partners here.

SCO has alleged in its multibillion-dollar lawsuit against IBM that IBM illegally made SCO code available for use in Linux, breaching its contracts with SCO. SCO has also said it will sue a large Linux customer over these issues.

In the latest legal action, SCO also charges that Novell has made "false statements" in an attempt to discourage customers and users from doing business with SCO.

SCO is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief as well as damages, according to the statement. The requested injunction would "require Novell to assign to SCO all copyrights that Novell has wrongfully registered, prevent Novell from representing any ownership interest in those copyrights, and require Novell to retract or withdraw all representations it has made regarding its purported ownership of those copyrights."SCO takes this action today given Novell's recent and repeated announcements regarding their claimed ownership of the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights," Mark Heise, partner with Boies, Schiller and Flexner LLP, said in a statement. "SCO has received many questions about Novell's actions from potential customers, investors and the press. Although SCO owns the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights, Novell's efforts to claim ownership of these copyrights has forced this action."

Linux proponents have howled that SCO is fighting a desperate battle over technology it does not own. SCO executives maintain that the code is rightfully SCO's intellectual property and was misappropriated for use in Linux.

Among Linux gurus and Novell solution providers, reaction to the news was swift -- and in some cases, glib.

"I'm surprised [SCO doesn't] sue the U.S. government," quipped Chris Maresca, senior partner and co-founder of the Olliance Group, an independent open source strategy company in Palo Alto, Calif. "Isn't it part of their strategy to sue every major organization they can possibly get their hands on?"

At Novell partner Network Technology Group in San Jose, Calif., General Manager Dennis Murphy echoed these sentiments with a touch more gravity."Utah is the home field for both of them, so with Novell's recent acquisitions, I guess this was inevitable," he said. "Ultimately, I don't think it will amount to anything [for SCO], but as any lawyer will tell you, once you get into court, all bets are off."

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