Timeline of SCO–Linux disputes

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The SCO Group is involved in a dispute with various Linux vendors and users. SCO has initiated a series of lawsuits, including SCO v. IBM and SCO v. Novell, that implicate the futures of both Linux and Unix. SCO has claimed that Linux violates some of SCO's intellectual properties. Many people are skeptical of SCO's claims, and they are strongly contested by SCO's opponents in the lawsuits, some of which have launched counter-claims. Red Hat also filed a lawsuit against SCO.


January 2003
SCO retains lawyer David Boies, announcing that they would be investigating infringement on their intellectual property pertaining to their ownership of UNIX.[1] Over the next several months, the executives of SCO issue a number of press releases and public statements alleging unspecified violations of their UNIX intellectual property rights in Linux. They also begin to raise questions of the validity of the GPL.
March 2003
In SCO v. IBM, SCO sues IBM over its contributions to Linux, claiming that IBM stole UNIX trade secrets and gave them to Linux kernel developers. The suit was filed originally in the Utah State Court, but was immediately removed to Federal Court.
May 2003
The SCO Group says they sent letters to 1,500 of the world's largest corporations, including the Fortune 500 companies, alleging that the use of Linux may infringe a copyright they hold on the original UNIX source code. They say that the Linux kernel, the core of the operating system contains copyrighted SCO source code. In this letter they also announce the suspension of their own Linux-related activities.
July 2003
The SCO Group files an amended complaint.
August 2003
SCO announces that they intend to issue invoices to companies using Linux.
In Red Hat v. SCO, Red Hat files suit in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware asking for a permanent injunction blocking SCO from asserting that Red Hat infringed on SCO's intellectual property with their Linux product.[2]
IBM files its counterclaims, alleging that SCO has violated the GPL, several patents, and the Lanham Act by falsely accusing IBM of violating SCO's IP rights.
September 2003
SCO CEO, Darl McBride, writes an open letter to the free software community. In this letter he accuses the free software community of being responsible for recent DDoS attacks on the SCO website and once again asserts that Linux violates SCO's intellectual properties.
IBM files amended counterclaims, including a claim of copyright infringement.
October 2003
BayStar Capital and Royal Bank of Canada invest $US50 million in SCO to support the legal cost of the SCOsource program.
SCO announces that it would not attempt invoicing Linux users after being threatened with mail fraud.
December 2003
SCO sends a letter to all Unix licensees asking them to certify certain questions regarding the use of Linux.
SCO sends a letter claiming ownership of the Linux ABI code.
January 2004
SCO sends a letter to the United States Congress, raising issues such as the economics of open source development and the legality of the GPL.
In, SCO v. Novell, SCO files slander of title suit against Novell.
February 2004
The SCO Group becomes the target of the Mydoom computer worm, which was programmed to launch a denial of service attack on the company's website beginning on February 1, 2004. The Group has also been the subject of a Google bomb campaign. Google returns SCO's website as the number one hit for the phrase "litigious bastards."[citation needed]
SCO files a second amended complaint against IBM. It drops the trade secret claims, but adds claims of copyright infringement.
March 2004
In SCO v. AutoZone, SCO files suit against AutoZone in Nevada state court.[3]
In SCO v. DaimlerChrysler, SCO files suit against DaimlerChrysler.
IBM files second amended counterclaims.
April 2004
The Red Hat v. SCO case is stayed until resolution of the SCO v. IBM case.
May 2004
IBM files a motion for partial summary judgment on a claim for declaratory judgment of non-infringement. This would confirm that IBM has not infringed on any SRVx code in its Linux activities.
June 2004
The SCO v. Novell case is dismissed due to inadequate pleading of special damages.
July 2004
The SCO v. AutoZone case is stayed pending the outcome in SCO v. IBM.
All claims in the SCO v. DaimlerChrysler case are dismissed except on the matter of breach of section 2.05, in that DC did not submit their response in a timely manner.
SCO files an amended complaint in SCO v. Novell.
August 2004
IBM files motion for partial summary judgment on breach of contract claims in SCO v. IBM. This judgment would confirm that the AT&T license agreement placed no restrictions on derivative works.
IBM files motion for partial summary judgment on its counterclaim for copyright infringement in SCO v. IBM. This judgment would find SCO guilty of copyright infringement of IBM's contributions to Linux.
Novell files a motion to dismiss.
December 2004
SCO v. DaimlerChrysler case is dismissed without prejudice based on stipulation of the parties. If SCO wishes to pursue the remaining claim (i.e. whether DaimlerChrysler replied in a timely manner) again, they must pay DaimlerChrysler's legal fees from August 9, 2004.
SCO appeals to Michigan Court of Appeals.
January, 2005
SCO's appeal of the DaimlerChrysler case is dismissed.
February, 2005
IBM's motions for partial summary judgment are denied without prejudice, to be refiled after the close of discovery.
July 2005
Novell files its answer with the court, denying SCO's claims.
Novell files counterclaims asking the court to force SCO to turn over the revenues it had received from UNIX licenses, less a 5% administrative fee. Additionally, Novell asks the court to place the funds in a "constructive trust" in order to ensure that SCO can pay Novell since the company's assets are depleting rapidly.
December 2005
Final deadline passes in SCO v. IBM to disclose allegedly misused material with specificity. SCO provides IBM with a list of 294 alleged violations.
January 2006
SCO files a second amended complaint against Novell. It adds claims of copyright infringement, unfair competition and breach of a non-compete agreement.
April 2006
SuSE (now owned by Novell) files an arbitration request with the ICC International Court of Arbitration. It asks to preclude SCO from asserting proprietary rights to any code in Linux.
Novell files a motion to stay the case pending the resolution of SuSE arbitration.
May 2006
SCO and IBM exchange initial expert reports.
June 2006
Most of the items on SCO's list of allegedly misused material are stricken by the magistrate judge in SCO v. IBM due to lack of specificity.
April 2007
SCO brings Pamela Jones of Groklaw into both SCO v. IBM and SCO v. Novell cases. They claim that they have attempted to serve Ms Jones although she denies knowledge of any such attempts.
August 2007
The SCO v. Novell court case concludes that "Novell is the owner of the Unix and UnixWare copyrights."
September 2007
SCO files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, automatically staying all lawsuits.
November 2007
Novell succeeded in getting a court to lift SCO's Chapter 11 immunity from legal action and will continue with legal action against SCO.
December 2007
SCO stock is delisted from the NASDAQ stock exchange.
July 2008
Novell granted award of 2.5 million against SCO.[citation needed]
August 2009
Tenth Circuit appeals court partially reverses summary judgment in SCO v. Novell, deciding that an issue of fact was present that should have been reserved for a trial.[citation needed]
March 2010
Following a jury trial, Novell, not SCO, is declared the owner of UNIX licenses. SCO decides to continue the lawsuit against IBM for causing a decline in SCO revenues.[4]
May 2010
Remaining issues in SCO v. Novell settled by the District Court in favor of Novell and against SCO.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whipp, Matt (2003-01-22). "SCO hires lawyer to haul in the licence fees". PC Pro. Archived from the original on May 29, 2004. Retrieved 2007-09-04.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2004-07-07. Retrieved 2004-08-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ http://sco.tuxrocks.com/Docs/AZ/AZ-1.pdf
  4. ^ Jury says Novell owns Unix copyrights
  5. ^ SCO v. Novell (2010-06-10). Text