SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- SCO Group Inc. has filed a slander suit against Novell Inc., saying the Provo-based firm has hurt the Lindon-based company's business by falsely claiming it owns the copyrights to the Unix computer operating system and UnixWare.
The suit filed Tuesday in Utah's 3rd District Court is the latest development arising from SCO's claim that proprietary Unix code was allowed by IBM to enter the open-source Linux operating system.
SCO, which bought Unix from Novell, has sued IBM, which filed a countersuit. SCO also has threatened lawsuits against Linux distributors and users.
The slander suit seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions, plus damages to be determined at trial.
SCO claims Novell has improperly filed copyright registrations for Unix technology covered by SCO's copyrights.
It contends that Novell's claims that it owns Unix and UnixWare copyrights have harmed SCO's copyrights, its business and its reputation.
It also claims Novell has tried to block SCO's ability to enforce its copyrights.
The injunction request seeks to assign SCO the Novell-registered copyrights, prevent Novell from claiming ownership interest in those copyrights and require Novell to retract representations it has made about its alleged ownership.
"SCO takes this action today given Novell's recent and repeated announcements regarding their claimed ownership of the Unix and UnixWare copyrights," SCO attorney Mark Heise said.
Heise said a 1995 asset purchase agreement and amendment between the companies makes SCO the copyright owner.
Novell spokesman Bruce Lowry said he had not seen the suit and that the company declines to comment on any lawsuits.
"We will defend our interests," he said. "We have made fairly clear statements about the copyrights issue."
On Dec. 22, Novell issued a statement saying, "Novell believes it owns the copyrights in Unix and has applied for and received copyright registrations pertaining to Unix consistent with that position."
Novell bought Unix from AT&T Corp. in 1992, and SCO has said it bought the rights to Unix in 1995 for $145 million from Novell.
Novell and IBM are among companies that have begun developing products for use in Linux.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)