The lawsuit between SCO and IBM for infringement of the rights in the UNIX / Linux code is in the process of partial resolution


At the end of March of this year, we shared here on the blog the news of the demand that I made Xinuos people have taken legal action against IBM and Red Hat and it is that Xinuos claims IBM illegally copied Xinuos code for its server operating systems and conspired with Red Hat to illegally divide the market.

This all started in 1995 with the sale by from Novell from Unix code to SCO company (SCO, a UNIX vendor for x86 processors). This sale generated two interpretations among participants, as Novell believes that it has only transferred the code, not the intellectual property rights, which SCO claims to have purchased both.

In 1998, IBM, Santa Cruz Operation, and others came together to create Project Monterey., with the goal of developing a version of UNIX that runs on multiple hardware platforms (something the Linux community had started to do as well)

In 2001, IBM decided that Linux was the future and abandoned Project Monterey, even dragging some of the Monterey Project participants in its wake. By then, Big Blue had created an experimental version of its own UNIX-like AIX operating system that used SCO code.

But once he left the project, IBM transferred some of its intellectual property to Linux. SCO objected to these contributions because it believed that IBM had ceded its assets to the Linux open source codebase.

In addition, on March 6, 2003, Caldera Systems, renamed SCO, filed an action against IBM for breaching their Monterey joint project contract that concerned the joint development of a Unix operating system. The plaintiff notably accused Big Blue of having disclosed some of the Unix source code and methods for contributing to Linux and for developing AIX, IBM's own version of Unix initially claiming $ 1 billion in damages, his claim rapidly increased by three months to reach $ 3 billion.

Fought back by IBM in August 2003 in Utah federal court and sparking an unprecedented outcry in the information technology world (from the Free Software Foundation to Novell, including its own employees), SCO quickly found itself in very bad shape. state.

On August 10, 2007, Judge Kimball pronounced a verdict decided: indicates that Novell is in fact the owner of the copyright to Unix and UnixWare. Faced with such failure and visibly upset, the company was in danger. Its turnover had dropped from $ 250 million to $ 15 million per year due to new competition from Linux.

Now on August 26, 2021, in an agreement request from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware indicates that the parties "have agreed to resolve all disputes including through a payment to the administrator (…) of $ 14,250,000 »within five days from the effective date of the settlement agreement.

Clearly, if the proposal is accepted by both parties, this agreement would end the former SCO's lawsuit with IBM. In 5 days, IBM will have to pay the $ 14,25 million by transfer to the administrator handling the bankruptcy of SCO, which was renamed the TSG Group. For the latter, this proposal is made in a reasonable manner, taking into account the best interest of creditors and must be approved.

But this does not end here, as this conflict could be led by another entity. In fact, even though SCO went bankrupt, its intellectual property continued to live on under the new owners. IBM continued to fight and the organizations that inherited SCO's intellectual property continued to try new corners, finding new sources of funding.

Xinuos, which took over SCO's assets 10 years ago, has turned against IBM. Big Blue is again accused, this time by Xinuos, of having illegally copied the code of the software that the latter bought from SCO to use it in its operating system.

Xinuos, filed a lawsuit earlier this year, alleging theft of intellectual property and monopoly market collusion against joint defendants IBM and Red Hat. Xinuos was formed around SCO Group's assets about ten years ago under the name UnXis, and at the time, SCO's successor had no interest in continuing the latter's long-running dispute over Linux.

The demand alleges that IBM incorporated unspecified code of the company's UnixWare and OpenServer code on IBM's own AIX operating system. It also alleges that IBM and Red Hat directly conspired to split the entire market. of Unix-like operating systems into big business opportunities for IBM, leaving Xinuos in the dark.

The Xinuos lawsuit also claims that IBM has misled investors by stating in its annual reports since 2008 that it owns all copyrights in Unix and UnixWare.

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