April 14, 2004

Latest Blepp on SCO screen: Does VP in Germany have disputed code in briefcase?

Author: Chris Preimesberger

The SCO Group apparently is as baffled as everybody else at a report on the German Web site Spiegel and featured by the U.S. paralegal site Groklaw that one of its vice presidents, Gregory Blepp, is carrying important intellectual property court evidence around in his personal briefcase.

Blepp told Spiegel that he has "millions of lines" of the disputed Linux code in his own briefcase.

SCO Group, as many NewsForge readers are aware, is suing a number of companies -- including some longtime clients such as IBM and DaimlerChrysler -- for alleged IP violations regarding use of proprietary Unix System V code within installed Linux systems. A federal magistrate has asked SCO Group to prove the violations by submitting definitive code samples, which the Lindon, Utah-based company has not yet produced.

According to this new report, the code needed to bolster the lawsuits is in the briefcase of Blepp, who serves as the company's vice president of licensing operations.

"'I have proof right here in my suitcase,'" Blepp said in the Spiegel story, translated by a Groklaw reader. "Out of the five million lines of the Linux source code, there are about 1 [million] to 1.5 million lines affected," Blepp said.

Why would a SCO Group vice president based in Germany say he has valuable documentation SCO Group needs to prove its IP infringement cases? And why would he wait so long after the filing of the lawsuits (IBM in March 2003, DaimlerChrysler last month, to name two) to go public with his assertion?

At first, SCO Group spokesman Blake Stowell was taken aback by the report. "This is the first I've heard of this," Stowell said Wednesday afternoon.

Due to the lateness of the hour in Germany, Stowell was unable to connect with Blepp, but he later offered an explanation.

"The code that I believe Gregory is referring to has nothing to do with the SCO vs. IBM case," Stowell told NewsForge late Wednesday.

"The code that Gregory is referring to is some of the same code that SCO began showing to media, analysts, and other opinion leaders under non-disclosure during the summer of 2003. This code is one of many examples that the company has shown in order to prove that there is misappropriated Unix code in Linux."

Still, there was no direct contact with Blepp Wednesday to get his story firsthand. NewsForge will follow up on this as soon as possible.

"No, I was not able to speak with him, but I saw this very same example of code that he refers to during a meeting yesterday," Stowell added. "It's a very common example of what we have been showing as proof of infringement."


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