Novell (not SCO) owns UNIX, says jury
Yes, SCO vows to fight on
A federal jury has decided that UNIX is owned by Novell - not SCO.
But no, this does not mark the end of SCO's epic legal battle against the Linux industry.
On Tuesday, the AP reports, after a trial in Salt Lake City, Utah, a jury ruled that Novell still controls the copyrights to UNIX despite a 15-year-old deal that transfered certain other UNIX rights to an earlier incarnation of the Utah-based SCO.
"Novell is very pleased with the jury’s decision confirming Novell’s ownership of the Unix copyrights, which SCO had asserted to own in its attack on Linux," Novell said in a statement posted to its webpage. "Novell remains committed to promoting Linux, including by defending Linux on the intellectual property front."
In 1995, Novell sold the Unix source code and some additional assets to the company, and SCO contends that a 1996 amendment transferred copyrights as well. In 2003, it started waving those copyrights at one Linux outfit after another, eventually entering a licensing agreement with Sun and suing everyone from IBM to DaimlerChrysler.
In 2004, Novell insisted that it had not sold the copyrights, arguing that the IBM suit was invalid, and SCO responded by filing suit against Novell as well. A judge eventually ruled in favor of Novell, but an appeals court later called for a jury trial to decide on the copyright question.
The jury ruling is certainly a blow to SCO - which has sought bankruptcy protection as it fights to keep itself alive without any real revenues - but its case against IBM is still pending. "It's a setback," SCO trial lawyer said of the ruling, "but it's not over." ®
This isn't the SCO you are thinking of.
There have been two unrelated Companies called SCO.
Also once MS had a UNIX (Xenix?) based on their AT&T Version 7 licence (1980), and sold it to various people, including SCO (founded in 1979). SCO released their port to the IBM PC in September 1983.
In 1987 Microsoft transferred ownership of Xenix to SCO in an agreement that left Microsoft owning 25% of SCO. This is the "old SCO" Santa Cruz Operation.
The current SCO is actually not related, Caldera did buy a lot of SCO assets in 2001, and then the original SCO became Tarantella and Claldera became SCO group., only being separate from parent company in about 2005. Tarantella was sold to Sun in 2005., which is now part of Oracle.
So really Oracle is SCO as you know it. Caldera aka SCO group appear to have done nothing of value in the last 5 years.
In related irony MS-DOS (The people that sold the original SCO, Xenix) was a clone on CP/M. The IBM PC version of CP/M was CP/M86 and then DR DOS. Digital Research's CPM & DR DOS was bought by Novell who sold it (perceiving it of no value) to Caldera in 1996.
Caldera aka SCO Group would be on firmer ground sue Microsoft for infringing FAT, DOS, Windows 7 Batch scripts, Win7 / NT Console etc since they appear to own the original CP/M & DR DOS (CP/M 86) that MS's DOS and FAT is based on.
7 years but finally the lawyers are in the firing line
What you forget is SCO's lawyers jumped on board as partners in the scam right at the start. Despite attempts to disentangle themselves when the sheer extent of SCO lies became undeniable they've been well and truly screwed for it.
Last guesstimate I saw was around $30mil in the red on the case around a year ago, they were paid upfront and spent it all long ago, meanwhile they're on the hook all the way to appeal. The pain is just starting for Bois,Shiller & Flexner, IBM show no sign of voluntarily ending their case - which is now IBM's counterclaims against SCO and not much else - a couple more years expense. IBM will be going for costs and only the lawyers will be around to pay, given their sharp practice throughout they're likely to get hammered badly.
It's been a good day but the best is still to come, when the legal support services that allowed this travesty to last so long finally see retribution. We'll be safe from this sort of extortion scam only when the lawyers see its not safe to get this involved.
Its not yet, not by a long way ...
Only the jury part of the trail is over, there are some issues that the judge has still to be decided.
One of SCOG's lawyers (Mr Singer I think) has announced that they are going to try to convince the judge to assign SCO the copyrights that they don't have. This is on the basis of the APA which includes a clause that states that novell must transfer any copyrights that SCOG needs to perform its business. However there are a few minor hurdles that Mr Singer and SCOG are going to have to get over first of all:
1. Darl McBride (SCOG's ex-CEO) stated under oath that SCOG did not need the copyrights for its business.
2. SCOG orginally stated that the copyrights where required for SCOsource (SCOGs extortion programme) which did not exsist when the APA was signed, and hence is probably excluded from the APA provisions.
3. Mr Singer stated in court and to the jury that SCOsource is "dead" as a consequence of the trail.
4. SCOG has to clearly identify what copyrights it requires, it cannot simply demand all of them.
The judge gave every indication that he was leaning heavily in SCOGs favour, but this lot might be a bit much even for him to swallow.
BTW, I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to Pamela Jones and the rest of the Groklaw regulars for all their efforts over the last seven years; they have undoubtedly made an invaluable contribution to this whole saga.