20 November 2003 SCO Group is going up a gear in its pursuit of licence fees for servers running the Linux operating system, revealing that it plans to launch legal action against a big enterprise user within the next three months.
SCO did not reveal if it has a particular organisation in mind, or whether it would withdraw the threat if it became more successful at securing licence fees from Linux users.
But the law firm representing SCO – Boies, Schiller &Flexner – said the plan was to pursue a test case that could lead to more lawsuits.
“It will be a significant user that has not paid licensing fees and so is using proprietary and protected material illegally,” said the managing partner of the firm, David Boies.
The threat follows a seemingly unsuccessful attempt by SCO earlier this year to compel 1,500 large organisations to pay licence fees for using Linux.
Licences for SCO’s UnixWare are up to £828 per server for Fortune 1000 companies. So far, only a handful of companies are believed to have paid up.
SCO, which is also suing IBM for allegedly stealing its secrets, claims that Linux contains code copied line-by-line from its System V version of Unix – the basis of its UnixWare operating system product.
Some critics have questioned the seriousness of SCO’s intent, dismissing this latest move as a headline-grabbing stunt.
However, SCO is to pay Boies, Schiller &Flexner and its other legal representatives $1 million in cash and about $8 million in shares. The revelation appeared to suggest that the law firm had a strong incentive to pursue – and win – a Linux legal case for SCO, since that would help keep SCO’s shares buoyant.