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Will USL vs. Regents of U/Cal affect SCO vs. Linux?

Do you think that the USL vs. The Regents of the University of California legal battle will have any impact on the current SCO vs. Linux case? The two cases (regarding Unix code inserted into BSD and vice versa) at least seem to be following a similar path. Thanks for your thoughts.

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The litigation between USL and BSDL, the Regents of U/Cal and others was settled in or around 1994 and all of the litigation pending between the parties starting in the early '90s was dismissed. Moreover, with one or two exceptions, few relevant decisions were rendered in that litigation before the settlement. So, with one possible exception, there will be little practical impact from that litigation on the current spate of lawsuits.

The one apparent exception involves the initial decision in the case filed by USL against the Regents in U.S. District Court in New Jersey. In that case, the Regents asked the Court to dismiss the case and USL asked the Court to enter a preliminary injunction preventing the Regents and BSDL from distributing source code. The Judge ruled that USL was not likely to prevail on its copyright and trade secret claims pertaining to 32V and Net2/BSD 356. Therefore, to the extent that SCO's claim of copyright originates from USL's code for these programs, the decision in the earlier litigation may have some impact on the current matter.

This was first published in July 2003

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