Retail group calls SCO claims unfounded

A large retail trade association believes that The SCO Group Inc.'s claim that it owns some of the intellectual property within the Linux operating system is "unfounded," according to a statement it released Wednesday.

The statement was released by the National Retail Federation, based in Washington, D.C., which represents more than 1.4 million U.S. retailers.

After examining SCO's claims, the NRF has concluded that SCO's assertion that it holds the copyright to Unix System V is "without merit," Dave Hogan [cq] the Federation's chief information officer, said in the statement. "Novell (Inc.) is the last company that can demonstrate legal ownership of Unix System V," he said.

The statement appears designed to assuage fears that retailers may have over their use of Linux. The Federation "expects that retailers who use Linux will survive the current litigation," the statement said.

Neither SCO nor the NRF returned calls seeking comment for this story.

SCO acquired certain rights to the Unix System V source code in 2002, but the question of exactly which rights it acquired remains subject to debate. Novell, which purchased the Unix System V copyright from AT&T Corp. in 1993, says it still owns the Unix copyright. SCO has sued Novell for slander over these claims

Novell is not the only company to receive the unwanted attention of SCO's lawyers. Last year SCO launched a US$5 billion lawsuit against IBM Corp., claiming the computer maker had illegally contributed SCO's intellectual property to Linux. In March, SCO sued automotive giant DaimlerChrysler AG and auto parts retailer AutoZone Inc., and it has threatened to sue other Linux users.

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