Novell Goes for SCOs Throat

Novell doesn't simply deny that SCO has any rights to Unix's copyrights; the company is claiming that SCO has no rights to sell Unix licenses and that SCO must turn over all its Unix royalties to it.

Novell is making no bones about it; the company is attacking SCO in court with everything it has in an attempt to land a knock-out punch.

On Friday, Novell Inc. filed its Answer in the U.S. District Court in Utah to The SCO Group Inc.s claims that it, and not Novell, owned Unixs copyrights.

Novell also filed counterclaims asking the court to force SCO to turn over its Unix licenses royalties to it and to attach SCOs assets to ensure that it can pay Novell.

Novell opened up by denying essentially all of SCOs slander of title claims in its July 29 Answer.

SCO had claimed that it, and not Novell, owned Unixs copyrights and that Novells management knew this.

Novell replied that neither the APA (Asset Purchase Agreement) of Sept. 19, 1995, which transferred Unix and UnixWare to Santa Cruz Operations nor Amendment 2 to the APA gave SCO any copyrights to the Unix operating systems.

The NetWare, now Linux, company has long maintained that this was the case.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read more about the SCO vs. Novell Unix case.

What is new is that in its counterclaims, Novell stated that in late 2002, SCO repeatedly contacted Novell to try to get the company to work with SCO on its SCOsource campaign to get Unix licensing fees from Linux users.

Failing that, Novell claims that SCO CEO Darl McBride tried to get Novell to amend the APA to give SCO Unixs copyrights. Thus, Novell maintains, that SCO knew it didnt have any claim to Unixs copyrights from the start.

Novell, in its counterclaims, however, then goes well beyond simply asserting its Unix IP (intellectual property) rights.

"Our counterclaims are about Novells rights under the Asset Purchase Agreement with The Santa Cruz Operation and whether SCO is going to respect the agreement that its alleged predecessor signed with Novell. SCO has not complied with the provisions of the Asset Purchase Agreement," said Bruce Lowry, Novells director of global public relations.

"In 1995, Novell entered into an agreement with The Santa Cruz Operation that gave each party certain rights and obligations. Under the agreement, Novell transferred to Santa Cruz certain Unix-related assets including licenses to Unix System V," Lowry said.

This "agreement specified not only that Novell retained the Unix copyrights but that Novell retained close controls on Santa Cruzs administration of Unix System V licenses.

Our counterclaims describe the other rights that Novell retained as part of the Asset Purchase Agreement and the related obligations that Santa Cruz assumed."

Next Page: Other rights.