The almost-defunct SCO Group of Lindon is seeking to reopen its David vs. Goliath lawsuit against IBM over claims the technology giant illegally appropriated parts of the Unix computer operating system in order to create a competitive rival.
Bankruptcy trustee Edward Cahn, a former federal judge in Philadelphia, decided to continue to pursue two parts of the lawsuit against IBM in an effort to recover money for the Utah company, his attorney, Bonnie Glantz Fatell of Wilmington, Del., said Monday.
The decision was made after an appeals court turned down The SCO Group's appeal of a jury verdict and other rulings from a 2010 trial in a related lawsuit against Novell.
"Now that the dust has settled in the litigation with Novell, we have turned to the remaining litigation assets of the estate," Fatell said in an email. "We reviewed the status of the claims against IBM with Boise Schiller, [SCO's] counsel, and have concluded that the Novell ruling does not impact the viability of the estate's claims against IBM."
IBM representatives did not return an email seeking comment.
SCO sued in 2003 claiming IBM had appropriated its software code or used it as a model for changes that made the Linux operating system a commercial competitor to Unix. The next year, SCO sued Novell for allegedly interfering in the IBM case by claiming Novell, and not SCO, owned copyrights at issue.
The claims against IBM involve what was called Project Monterey, a joint effort between SCO and IBM to develop a version of Unix and IBM's AIX for Power system that would operate on Intel computer chips.
But IBM soon decided a commercial version of Linux would be more profitable and appropriated code while hiding its decision not to pursue Project Monterey, SCO said in a memo asking U.S. District Judge Tena Campell to reopen the lawsuit.
"IBM interfered with SCO's position as the leader in the UNIX-on-Intel market by wrongfully disclosing confidential UNIX technologies to Linux, in order to transform Linux from an upstart operating system for hobbyists to a commercial-grade alternative to SCO's UnixWare and OpenServer operating systems â thereby interfering with SCO's existing customers and prospective business opportunities," SCO said in its motion.
The long and costly litigation plus the bad will it engendered by trying to make users of Linux buy a software license led SCO to file for bankruptcy in 2007. The Unix system was sold off earlier this year by the bankruptcy court to another company.
The legal bills of the law firm Boise Schiller had previously been paid to pursue the case against IBM and Novell,but it's unclear where the money for other expenses will come from.