SCO V. IBM - Novell Enters The Controversy

Novell Enters The Controversy

Novell entered the controversy by publishing on May 28, 2003, a press release concerning the SCO Group's ownership of UNIX. "To Novell's knowledge, the 1995 agreement governing SCO's purchase of UNIX from Novell does not convey to SCO the associated copyrights," a letter to the SCO Group's CEO Darl McBride said in part. "We believe it unlikely that SCO can demonstrate that it has any ownership interest whatsoever in those copyrights. Apparently you share this view, since over the last few months you have repeatedly asked Novell to transfer the copyrights to SCO, requests that Novell has rejected."

SCO later claimed to have discovered an amendment to their contract with Novell transferring partial ownership to SCO. Novell stated that the amendment "appears to bear a valid Novell signature, and the language, though convoluted, seems to support SCO's claim that ownership of some copyrights for Unix did transfer to SCO"; Novell also said that it could not find its own copy of the amendment.

But in subsequent letters to SCO that Novell released as part of a press release on December 22, 2003, Joseph LaSala Jr., Novell's general counsel, argued that the amendment provided for a copyright transfer only under certain conditions that SCO has allegedly failed to meet.

SCO was quick to dismiss Novell's claims. The same day, during a conference call to discuss SCO's quarterly financial results, SCO CEO Darl McBride said "We see this as a fraudulent filing of copyright notices ... and we'll take the appropriate measures as necessary with our legal team." SCO made good on this threat on January 20, 2004, when it filed SCO v. Novell. On August 10, 2007, Judge Kimball issued a ruling which says in part "the court concludes that Novell is the owner of the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights." This decision is expected to impact the SCO v. IBM since the ruling states that Novell "is entitled, at its sole discretion, to direct SCO to waive its claims against IBM and Sequent".

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