SCO Fires Back at Novell Over Slander Suit

SCO Group has fired back at Novell in their legal tussle over copyright claims to parts of the Unix operating system code, arguing in a detailed motion that its lawsuit against Novell should go forward.

The two companies have been embroiled in a legal battle since late January, when SCO
sued Novell in a “slander of title” action, charging that Novell engaged in a “bad faith effort to interfere with SCO’s rights with respect to Unix and UnixWare.” The lawsuit came after Novell claimed copyright on parts of Unix code with which SCO has built a case claiming slipped into select Linux kernels.

SCO’s original suit alleges both copyright violations and interference with commerce. On the code front, SCO alleges that Novell has improperly filed copyright registrations for Unix technology it says is covered by SCO’s copyrights. SCO also charges Novell with making false public statements regarding the ownership of Unix and UnixWare.

As for the business-related claims, the suit alleges that Novell has made
false statements with the intent to cause customers and potential customers
to not do business with SCO.

SCO is seeking cash damages, in an amount to be determined in a trial. It is
also requesting injunctions that would require Novell to assign to SCO any
wrongfully obtained copyrights.

SCO’s motion was filed at the court’s deadline on Friday and obtained by this afternoon.

In arguing that its lawsuit should proceed, SCO in its motion writes: “Novell misrepresents the applicable law and entirely ignores the allegations in SCO’s complaint and the plain language and the intent of the parties as set forth in the Asset Purchase Agreement.”

In this case, Asset Purchase Agreement refers to an eight-year-old business deal under which SCO alleged that Novell transferred to it the right to copyright registrations for Unix and Unixware technologies.

SCO’s motion came in response to a prior request by Novell on Feb. 9 that the court dismiss the case outright. Now, SCO has responded with 12 dense pages packed with strong language and legal precedents it hopes will back up its arguments.

In its motion, SCO asserts in bold-faced type two key arguments for why it believes Novell’s motion to dismiss the suit should be denied.

The first is that “SCO is the owner of the Unix and Unixware copyrights pursuant to the Asset Purchase Agreement and Novell’s public statements to the contrary are false,” according to the filing.

The second is that “SCO has sufficiently alleged damages.” The legal
language means that SCO believes it has shown that it has incurred damages.

Summing up, the SCO document concluded: “Novell knows exactly what is at
issue in this case and, as alleged in SCO’s complaint, Novell has acted with
the specific intent of causing SCO the precise type of damages SCO has
alleged. SCO has met the pleading requirements for its claim of slander of
title in this action. Novell’s Motion to Dismiss should be denied.”

Officials from both SCO and Novell declined to comment on the filing.

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