First a little history, to set the stage. Here is the TeamSCO Partner Program newsletter from Friday, March 7, 2003, sent out at 6:01 AM. It announced the lawsuit, which was filed the day before, and interestingly it also included a link to a PDF of their filing, which they made available on their website, in addition to repeating their press release of that same day.
Here also is the original SCO complaint filed in the local Utah court on March 6, 2003, at 2:17 PM to be exact, as you can see from the date stamp on the filing, back when they were still calling themselves Caldera. SCO has never bothered, that I have been able to find, to put this filed, dated version on their website, nor is it on the public Pacer. What SCO offered was an undated, unsigned copy and Pacer doesn't seem to have it at all. But this PDF shows the cover sheet filed with the court and the date and signature on the last page. A volunteer picked it up.
The Summons is also dated March 6, 2003, and while there is no certificate of service, they list a mailing address for a local IBM office in Salt Lake City as the recipient of the Summons:
TO DEFENDANT INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION
C/o CT CORPORATION SYSTEM
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
The letter to IBM telling them they had 100 days before the AIX license would be "terminated" also is dated March 6, even though the notice, under the original license agreement, gave IBM 100 days to fix whatever breach SCO might be claiming. Well, they just skipped that part. Normally, in my experience, when you have wording like that in a contract, you send the notice of breach, let the 100 days run, and then you sue if the problem isn't remedied first.
Since there is no fax number or email listed on the Summons or the Complaint, SCO appears to have mailed it to IBM, via this CT company in Salt Lake City. So, no matter how you slice it, I think that probably means that all SCO partners and the press received the filing before IBM did. They may have grabbed it quick off of SCO's website when the news broke. An Infoworld article dated March 7 shows that IBM said they hadn't had time to read it thoroughly yet:
"The company added that it has been 'openly supporting Linux and open standards for several years and neither SCO nor any of its predecessors ever expressed these concerns to us.'. . .
"SCO also said it sent a letter to IBM demanding that it cease its allegedly anti-competitive practices. If IBM doesn't meet its demands within 100 days of receiving the letter, SCO said it has a right to revoke IBM's license for the AIX Unix operating system.
"However, IBM said Friday that SCO never approached it to raise this complaint and did not inform the company in advance that it was filing a lawsuit."
This was back when SCO was pretending that IBM was a Utah entity, trying to stay in local Utah courts, but if this is what happened, it does highlight how charmingly SCO has conducted itself from day one. Is this all about the media, and from the beginning?
The SCO page where they already list some court filings says:
"On March 6, 2003, The SCO Group filed a civil lawsuit against IBM citing misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference, unfair competition and breach of contract. In an effort to keep the media and the public informed of the progress of this lawsuit, SCO is providing this web site with all of the latest filings and information from both SCO and IBM regarding this case. All of the legal documents posted here are public documents that are also on file with the U.S. District Court in Utah."
Yes, they are publicly available documents. As it happens, I know how to get documents from a court, and I shared that knowledge. Sharing knowledge is good for you, because you get to benefit when others use that knowledge and share back with you. Groklaw has almost 8,000 members currently. Some live in Utah, some in Nevada, some in Delaware, and some in Michigan. So there's always been someone willing to get the documents in person. I don't even have to arrange it. People often just do it, on their own initiative. Some regularly stop by the court, just to see if there is anything new. I put out a public call for Michigan volunteers once, when the DaimlerChysler case first surfaced, and within a blink of an eye, I had 5 offers. Recently, when a volunteer picked up a copy of a paper court filing in the IBM case, the court reporters told him that his copy was the first off the printer following their proofreading. And another reported that when he personally picked up a filing, he noticed that a copy for Snell & Wilmer, one of the firms representing IBM, was still waiting to be picked up.
It pays to be part of a large community, you know. Utah is one of the most progressive states as far as electronic filings are concerned, and they also make all the electronically filed documents, except those that are sealed, easily available to the public, and if you know how to use a computer, there you are. It's not as fast as sneakernet though. Nothing beats sneakernet.
You might like to know that it is being reported that the url for SCO's new website in competition with Groklaw has been renamed. It is now scoinfo.com, a domain name they registered on October 28. I guess they decided to take my advice. I wrote that prosco.net reeked of bias. Lots of merriment over the name happened elsewhere, too. Actually, there is no way for them not to be biased. They are a party to the lawsuit, after all. I believe that likely means they have a pony in this race that they are rooting for, so whatever they put up there, it will be with that as the goal. A little Groksmear can be expected too, I suppose, or should I say a little more, and judging from the above, maybe a few slick moves in addition to the astroturfing I believe I have already been observing. Just consider the source.
Anyway, if they need any more PR advice, after the website gets up and running, I am sure I'll think of something to help them improve.
I wanted to also mention that I pulled all the contracts and documents like copyright registrations and put them in one place on the Legal Docs page, in roughly alphabetical order. Just click on the link near the top under the heading "Other Documents" that says Contracts and Documents. I was finding it hard to locate things, so I figured you might be too. If you see any I missed, let me know, please, so I can add them to the list.
Also, we are preparing a new service on Groklaw. It's still being coded and has been in preparation for a couple of months, and we hope to have it ready fairly soon. We'll be having daily links to legal and related IT news stories that I believe you will find interesting. It's a feature I've wanted to do for a long time, because I want to share with you the wonderful links people send me from all over the world that I don't have time to write about. We have volunteers in place, who have agreed to be responsible for that feature, and I'll give you more details later.
From: "TeamSCO Partner Program"
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 6:01 AM
Subject: Important SCO Announcement... Please Read
In an effort to keep you informed of SCO activities, please read the following SCO Press Release available at http://www.sco.com/company/presskit.
SCO FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST IBM
SCO files billion dollar lawsuit for misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference, unfair competition and breach of contract
LINDON, Utah-March 7, 2003-The SCO(R) Group (SCO) (Nasdaq: SCOX), the owner of the UNIX operating system, announced today that it has filed legal action against IBM (NYSE:IBM) in the State Court of Utah, for misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference, unfair competition and breach of contract. The complaint alleges that IBM made concentrated efforts to improperly destroy the economic value of UNIX, particularly UNIX on Intel, to benefit IBM's new Linux services business.
IBM originally entered into their UNIX license agreement with AT&T in February 1985 in order to produce the AIX operating system. These agreements require that the UNIX software code be held in confidence, and prohibit unauthorized distribution or transfer.
In 1995, SCO purchased the rights and ownership of UNIX and UnixWare that had been originally owned by AT&T. This included source code, source documentation, software development contracts, licenses and other intellectual property that pertained to UNIX-related business. SCO became the successor in interest to the UNIX software licenses originally licensed by AT&T Bell Laboratories to all UNIX distributors, including HP, IBM, Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, and many others.
As a result of IBM's unfair competition and the marketplace injury sustained by SCO, SCO is requesting damages in an amount to be proven at trial, but no less than $1 billion, together with additional damages through and after the time of trial.
SCO is also demanding that IBM cease these anti-competitive practices based on specific requirements sent in a notification letter to IBM. If these requirements are not met, SCO will have the authority to revoke IBM's AIX license 100 days following the receipt of SCO's letter.
SCO's letter and complaint have been filed by the law firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexner. SCO announced in January that the law firm had been retained to research and investigate possible violations of SCO's intellectual property.
"SCO is in the enviable position of owning the UNIX operating system," said Darl McBride, president and CEO, SCO. "It is clear from our stand point that we have an extremely compelling case against IBM. SCO has more than 30,000 contracts with UNIX licensees and upholding these contracts is as important today as the day they were signed."
A copy of SCO's complaint is on file with the State Court of Utah and can also be found at http://www.sco.com/scosource.
SCO has scheduled a teleconference regarding this announcement for 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on March 7, 2003. Press and analysts who are interested in participating in this announcement should call:
About The SCO Group
The SCO Group (NASDAQ: SCOX) helps millions of customers in more than 82 countries to grow their businesses with UNIX business solutions. Headquartered in Lindon, Utah, SCO has a worldwide network of more than 16,000 resellers and 8,000 developers. SCO Global Services provides reliable localized support and services to all partners and customers. For more information on SCO products and services visit http://www.sco.com.
SCO, SCOsource, UnixWare and the associated SCO logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Caldera International, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. UNIX, used under an exclusive license, is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. All other brand or product names are or may be trademarks of, and are used to identify products or services of, their respective owners.