"With the recent announcement by Novell that SCO does not own
the copyrights and patents to UNIX, SCO's aggressive legal campaign
is losing air fast. It is beginning to look like classic farce. I
have always been skeptical about the SCO claim because they sued
IBM for trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition, their
weakest claims. As an intellectual property lawyer, I would have
expected them to lead with their strongest claims; patent and
copyright infringement, claims that were notably absent in the law
"The Novell announcement demonstates how complicated ownership
issues have become in software intellectual property. In fact, the
case is beginning to look more like a fight over ownership in the
movie industry: remember the battle over the right to make James
Bond movies? Yet, I am not aware of any news reports that point out
the failed first attempt to enforce rights in UNIX software: Unix
Systems Laboratories sued UC Berkeley, the UC Regents and BSDI for
alleged infringement of the copyrights in UNIX in the early 1990s.
The dispute arose over whether UC Berkeley and BSDI had
successfully removed all the proprietary code from their new
version of Unix. The result for USL was a disaster: a decision in
1993 found that due to failure to comply with copyright formalities
(requiring the use of a copyright notice, which is no longer
required), the 32V version of Unix was no longer protected by
copyright, it had entered the public domain..."
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