SCO vs. Novell Unix Case Heats Up

 
 
By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2004-02-13 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Novell went after SCO recently with a barrage of letters and a court action attacking SCO's Unix copyright claims.

While the Utah federal court in Salt Lake City continues to decide whether The SCO Group will be allowed to add copyright claims in its case against IBM in place of its dropped trademark claims, Novell Inc. has been going after SCO with copyright claims hammer and tongs.

Earlier this month, Novell informed SCO that SCO did not have the rights to terminate Sequent Computer Systems—now a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBM—SVRX Unix rights. Click here to read more about SCOs charges on Sequent Computer Systems Unix license.
Further, Novell at that time told SCO that it had until Thursday to make good on this matter or, under Novells rights in the original Asset Purchase Agreement, Novell, would waive any rights SCO might claim on the Sequent code.

Then, on Monday, Novell filed a motion in federal court to dismiss SCOs Unix copyright claims out of hand because the documents that SCO has shown to prove its Unix copyrights "fail on their face to meet the copyright law requirements."

In a prepared statement, Blake Stowell, SCOs public relations director, said, "SCO owns the copyrights to UNIX. The transfer of these copyrights is made plain, clear and unambiguous in the 1995 Asset Purchase Agreement between SCO and Novell." Amendment No.2 to the Asset Purchase Agreement clarifies this position and SCO will continue to aggressively defend these UNIX copyrights in our court case against Novell. In the next 20 days, we expect that SCOs lawyers will file a response motion to this filing by Novell," he said.

Stowell added, in an interview with eWEEK.com, "Does it make any sense that a company would buy Unix and UnixWare for tens of millions of dollars and not get the copyrights too?" "Ammendment #2 section B, paragraph 5, makes it clear that Novell has no rights to increase a Unixs customers rights or to interfere with SCOs management of those rights."

SCO, needless to say, did not withdraw its claims against Sequent-IBM. Therefore, on Wednesday, Joseph LaSalla, Novells senior vice president and general counsel, sent SCO a letter informing the Lindon, Utah-based company that SCO had failed to withdraw its claims, and Novell "hereby waives any purported right SCO may claim to require Sequent (or IBM as its successor) to treat Sequent code as subject to the confidentiality obligations or use restrictions of Sequents SVRX License." In short, since Novell claims to own the copyrights and the right to manage them, Novell is now acting on its claims.

To this development Stowell replied: "It is SCOs strongly held legal position that Novell has no rights to step in and change or alter the source code license agreements that SCO owns and holds with its UNIX licensees." "SCO has no intention of waiving any of its rights against Sequent or IBM. We will deal with Novell on all of these issues in court within the next twenty days," Stowell said, adding, "Novell cant step in and change the rights of our licensee and it cant prevent SCO forum exercising its rights."

In addition, Stowell said, "While Novells letters themselves draw attention, theyre not legal documents. Theyre what Novell believes to be true, but just because Novell says in a letter that theyre waving our rights doesnt mean that its so."

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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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