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.