Novell Tries Again for an SCO KO

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2007-04-25 Print this article Print

Novell explains to the court how and why SCO may have bought Unix, but it never bought Unix's intellectual property.

Novell is once again trying to finish off The SCO Groups court cases by proving that Novell is the company that actually owns Unixs intellectual property rights. What makes this latest attempt different, is we finally see an explanation of how SCO ended up owning Unix without owning its copyrights. This is core to any and all of SCOs multiple cases regarding Linux. Without a legal claim to Unix IP (intellectual property), SCOs cases against Novell, IBM, and Red Hat cant even enter the ring to begin the fight. Novell has been pushing this very point since early 2004. Then, Novell first asserted that in the original APA (Asset Purchase Agreement) and Amendment No.2 to the APA, it had never sold Unixs IP to SCO. Since then, the legal arguments have never stopped on this very point.
By and large, though, SCO hasnt been able to score any points in this critical round. Minutes from a 1995 Novells board of directors meeting clearly state, for example, that Novell was to retain its Unix copyrights when it sold the operating system to Santa Cruz Operation. Santa Cruz Operation would eventually become todays SCO.
Novell has also claimed that in late 2002, SCOs CEO Darl McBride had tried to get Novell to amend the APA to give SCO Unixs copyrights. Thus, this proved, according to Novells lawyers logic, that SCO already knew that it didnt own Unixs IP. SCOs counter-arguments can be boiled down to: "Why would we buy an operating system without its copyright?" Its a good question. Now, thanks to Novells latest efforts to win a summary judgment against SCO—that is, Novell is asking the court to rule in its favor without a trial because the evidence is so completely clear that Novell is in the right—we finally know why SCO did not get Unixs IP. The Readers Digest condensed version? Novell never wanted to sell them in the first place. Read the full story on Novell Tries Again for an SCO KO
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel