SCO gets 'aggressive' over intellectual property

The SCO Group is investigating possible violations of SCO's Unix and Linux intellectual property.

The SCO Group is investigating possible violations of SCO's Unix and Linux intellectual property.

The group has hired attorney David Boies, who gained prominence in the IT world when he served as special trial counsel for the US Department of Justice in its antitrust suit against Microsoft.

SCO has also created a licensing division, called SCOsource, which is entrusted with managing the company's intellectual property assets. Boies and his law firm Boies Schiller and Flexner, will work with the division.

The idea is for the company to be "a little bit more aggressive than we have been in the past at enforcing our intellectual property," said Chris Sontag, senior vice-president of SCO's operating systems division.

"We're doing more research than we have in the past to make sure the use of our intellectual property is appropriate which hasn't been done in a few years."

SCO claimed it was "the majority owner of Unix intellectual property" and that although Linux is open-source software, "it shares philosophy, architecture and APIs (application programming interfaces) with Unix".

SCO's licensing push, which involves launching new licensing programs, will be geared towards ensuring users and suppliers combine Linux and Unix technology "legitimately".

Chief executive officer Darl McBride said: "SCO owns much of the core Unix intellectual property, and has full rights to license this technology and enforce the associated patents and copyrights."

"In some cases, people may have unknowingly assumed [our intellectual property] was in the public domain," Sontag said, adding that it was SCO's intention to make its licensing programs "reasonable".

SCO, formerly known as Caldera International, claimed its Unix patents, copyrights and core technology date from 1969 when Bell Laboratories created the Unix source code.

The first new licensing program launched by the licensing division is the SCO System V for Linux, which will provide access to SCO's Unix System Shared Libraries for use with Linux to application developers, operating system vendors, end users and hardware and services providers.

Previously, these Unix libraries could not be used outside the SCO operating systems, but now licensees will be able to license the entire SCO operating systems to use these libraries. Other SCO licensing programs are in the works.

Read more on IT legislation and regulation