Red Hats claim is

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-07-19 Print this article Print

worrisome"> As Simon Frankel, an IP (intellectual property) litigator with the San Francisco law firm of Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin told me about the 2002 e-mail, "This is a potentially remarkable development in an enormously significant lawsuit." Why? Because, "Here is an e-mail that—at least—on its face—appears to reflect an internal investigation at SCO that concluded Linux did not include any proprietary material from Unix in its source code. If the e-mail turns out to mean what it says, this could be a significant blow to the basic premise of SCOs case."
Yes, I think you could say that.
In particular, I think that this could lead to real trouble for SCO because when Red Hat sued the Unix company because of its Unix/Linux copyright claims one of its charges was that SCO was violating the Lanham Act. For those of you, like me, who arent lawyers, the Lanham Act, among other things, covers false advertising. Red Hat is claiming that SCO deliberately made false claims about Linuxs copyrights that not only hurt Red Hats Linux business but in so doing promoted SCOs own Unix operating systems and its Unix IP licensing. Indeed, not only did Davidson write that there were no Unix copyright violations in Linux, he also wrote that part of "the idea that we would sell licenses to corporate customers who were using Linux as a kind of insurance policy in case it turned out that they were using code which infringed our copyright." Now, Im no expert, but it seems to me that these memos have blown a hole big enough in SCOs defenses against the Red Hat suit to sink the company. Maybe SCO does have a proof positive copyright ace up its sleeve. Stranger things have happened. However, with these memos out, SCO had better show something soon to back up its claims or its going to lose its case with Red Hat sooner rather than later. IBM? Well, Ive said it before, Ill say it again, while I dont think SCO has a leg to stand on in the IP arena, I do think they have a shot, not much of one but a shot, at winning on contractual matters dealing with the ill-fated Project Monterey. The Red Hat case, though? Well, if it turns out the way I think it will, SCO may not last long enough to face IBM in 2007. Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been using and writing about operating systems since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way. He can be reached at

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.

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