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Trustee says SCO Group should pursue IBM, Novell lawsuits

Published October 23, 2009 2:38 pm

Linux » Decision means high-profile copyright cases likely to continue.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The SCO Group intends to aggressively pursue lawsuits against IBM and Novell, the trustee now running the company told a bankruptcy judge on Friday.

The decision, announced in a Delaware courtroom, was eagerly awaited because it was not known whether trustee Edward Cahn would continue the high-profile lawsuits after ousting SCO CEO Darl McBride on Monday.

SCO's claims against IBM and Novell "should be pursued aggressively," Cahn told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross, according to Bloomberg News.

The IBM lawsuit had made McBride and The SCO Group the targets of scorn and anger among devotees of open-source software because it attacked the integrity of the Linux computer operating system, which is made available free to the public but around which companies such as IBM and Novell sell products and services.

SCO sued IBM in 2003 alleging that the source code of SCO's Unix operating system had been used as a model by the computer giant to make Linux a commercially viable product, which in turn led to decreasing sales for Unix. SCO then sued Novell after Novell alleged it and not the Lindon-based company owned the copyrights to Unix code.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week turned down a Novell request to reconsider a recent decision that allowed for a trial on SCO's claims.

The IBM case has been stalled since SCO filed for bankruptcy in 2007. But it was unclear whether Gross still will have to approve SCO's continuing to pursue the two lawsuits.

Cahn, a former chief federal-district judge, was appointed in August by Gross specifically to evaluate SCO's legal cases to recommend whether the company seeking to reorganize under bankruptcy protection could benefit from continuing with the lawsuits or should settle them.

Cahn recommended that Gross approve the settlement of a third lawsuit that involved AutoZone Inc.

SCO sued AutoZone in 2004 in federal court in Nevada, alleging it was using Unix-copyrighted software code in its Linux software. Cahn negotiated a settlement of that case but details were expunged from publicly available court records.

Cahn said the litigation would be "costly and the results uncertain."

"Moreover, further review and/or litigation would likely yield minimal addition benefit to creditors," Cahn wrote in the motion asking the judge for approval.

Gross gave Cahn approval to hire Ocean Park Advisors of Los Angeles, a company specializing in restructuring technology companies.

IBM and Novell did not return e-mails seeking comment on Cahn's decisions.

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