January 20, 2004

SCO Group at it again, this time targets Novell

Author: Chris Preimesberger

Once again, the Lindon, Utah-based SCO Group, Inc., caretaker of the UNIX operating system, is spoiling for a legal fight. Last year it was IBM. This time the target of a lawsuit is Utah neighbor Novell, for its "alleged bad-faith effort to interfere with SCO's rights with respect to UNIX and UnixWare." (Read the full press release here.)

Apparently, the contract signed a while back between the two companies is now being called into question by SCO's law firm, Boies, Schiller and Flexner, LLP. Novell and SCO have had a ongoing argument over fine print in the contract; Novell filed a claim with the U.S. copyright office over the code in dispute, so now SCO has responded with a lawsuit.

"We haven't yet read the actual filing, so there's nothing for us to comment on at this time," Novell Director of Press Relations Bruce Lowry said Tuesday afternoon. "What I will do is refer you to our Dec. 22 statement on our UNIX copyright registrations."

The statement says in part that "contrary to SCO's public statements, as demonstrated by this correspondence, SCO has been well aware that Novell continues to assert ownership of the UNIX copyrights."

Novell also has made public some of that correspondence with SCO on this matter.

A Slashdot reader, voicing the thoughts of many people, commented that "it looks like SCO has finally ditched their failing product line in favor of 24/7 litigation and PR work."

SCO's complaint requests an injunction and "damages against Novell for copyright misrepresentations and alleges a bad faith effort by Novell to interfere with SCO's intellectual property rights to UNIX and UnixWare." Among the allegations in the suit:

  • Novell has improperly filed copyright registrations in the United States Copyright Office for UNIX technology covered by SCO's copyrights.
  • Novell has made false and misleading public claims that it, and not SCO, owns the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights.
  • Novell has made false statements with the intent to cause customers and potential customers to not do business with SCO.
  • Novell has attempted, in bad faith, to block SCO's ability to enforce its copyrights.
  • Novell's false and misleading representations that it owns the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights has caused SCO irreparable harm to its copyrights, its business, and its reputation.

SCO said an injunction would require Novell to assign to SCO all copyrights that Novell has "wrongfully registered, prevent Novell from representing any ownership interest in those copyrights, and require Novell to retract or withdraw all representations it has made regarding its purported ownership of those copyrights."


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