Novell Wins Yet Again; Says SCO Never Got Unix Copyrights

from the is-it-dead-yet? dept

Could the case that never ends finally end? As you may recall, years back SCO sued IBM, claiming that Linux infringed on Unix, whose rights SCO acquired earlier. Except... in 2003 Novell tossed a bit of a firecracker into the whole thing by noting that it still owned the copyrights on Unix. The case went back and forth for ages, with a lot of questionable activity (including questions concerning Microsoft's supposed funding of SCO's activities), including accusations that the whole thing was an attempt to pump-and-dump SCO stock. Back in 2008, we thought it was finally over when a judge ruled that Novell owned the copyrights, leading many to expect SCO to finally just die off. Instead, it declared bankruptcy, got a lifeline and continued the fight -- leading to an appeals court ruling that the question over copyright ownership needed to be determined by a jury rather than a judge. As we noted at the time, this was hardly (as SCO's Darl McBride insisted) a vindication for SCO -- it was just another chance for SCO to lose in court.

And lose, it did. As was widely expected, the jury has that Novell owns the copyrights on Unix and SCO basically has no case. Once again, this suggests that SCO has never had a case, and has just been wasting everyone's time (and a lot of people's money) for a long, long, long time.

But, of course, it's probably not over yet. SCO says it will continue the original lawsuit against IBM, saying that it won't be over copyright, but breach of contract claims. Of course, it's now been almost a decade and we still haven't seen what it is that IBM did wrong. SCO still hasn't shown anyone what code breached what contract. However, as Groklaw notes, even if SCO (with what money?) keeps fighting the lawsuit against IBM over contract terms, that's a much more limited lawsuit, as the terms are just between IBM and SCO -- and wouldn't impact the wider "Linux" ecosystem, since others did not sign any kind of contract with SCO. Still, at some point, you would hope that the folks still left at SCO involved in this case realize enough is enough and just let it die.

Filed Under: linux, unix
Companies: ibm, novell, sco

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  1. icon
    _Arthur (profile), 30 Mar 2010 @ 6:24pm

    SCO was a real company

    Reason2, SCO used to be a real company, called Caldera.
    They had one of the most successful IPO ever (as a Linux company), back in the dotcom era. Their main product was Caldera Linux.

    Their moneymaker (moneyloser, since SCO has never posted a profit) is SCO UnixWare and SCO Openserver, two legacy OSes that cannot compete either with Windows (any version) or Linux.

    They announced with great fanfare that they would become a player in the Mobile arena, but it took them 3 years to launch a product for the iPhone, FC MobileLife, $4.99 ranked #337 in Productivity apps.

    They have been in bankruptcy for the past 3 years. After 2.5 years the Delaware judge named a Trustee, who have worked hard to keep the Litigation alive, by racking up $600K of past-due payable (by not paying the bankruptcy lawyers).

    Currently they are seeking approval for an asset sale, their whole Mobile Division, including 12 servers and several software product, to their former CEO, for ... $35,000 (the sale cost more than that to set up).

    The have announced another upcoming asset sale, a JAVA virtual machine patent (probably invalid due to prior art and obviousness), for $100K...

    They have recently obtained a $2M loan from their main shareholder, which gives him superpriority over any other creditors, and first dibs on the IP that SCO happens to own.

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