Novell may challenge SCO Linux claims

Novell, the second of in the chain of four companies to own rights to the Unix operating system, is expected to challenge rights infringement claims that the current owner of those rights, SCO Group, is making against Linux.

Novell is expected to assert that it retains Unix patents and copyrights and doesn't plan to assert those claims against Linux, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Tuesday night.Novell spokesman Bruce Lowry on Tuesday declined to comment on the report, though he said Novell plans to issue a statement on the issue before the market opens Wednesday. But SCO Group said the issue is beside the point because it bought full rights to the Unix intellectual property, including its copyrights, patents and the right to enforce those patents, according to Chris Sontag, head of the SCOsource effort to derive more money from the Unix intellectual property.

"We have enforcement rights to any appropriate patents that are still viable and related to Unix," Sontag said in a Tuesday interview. He did say Novell and AT&T, the original creator of Unix, still had some Unix patents, but that SCO has "all the rights and control of all copyrights and contracts." SCO's claims are the basis of a $1 billion lawsuit against IBM alleging that Big Blue misappropriated SCO's Unix trade secrets by building Unix intellectual property into Linux and violated its Unix contract with SCO. More recently, SCO has claimed that Unix code has been copied line-by-line into Linux, sometimes obscured to disguise its origin, an accusation that cuts to the core of the open-source philosophy that underlies Linux.

SCO recently sent threatening letters to 1,500 of the world's largest companies, saying use of Linux could make them the target of legal action based on copyrighted Unix source code allegedly copied into Linux.

News source: C|net

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