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More Blepp and News on Software Patents in Europe
Saturday, May 08 2004 @ 01:06 PM EDT

Gregory Blepp will participate in a panel discussion in Munich on May 12th, during a demonstration against software patents. Of course, he will not be participating on that side of the matter, I presume. As you may have heard, the news from Europe is that it looks like software patents may become a reality there after all:

"The EU Council of Ministers seems determined to prove that the EU is a democracy only on paper. This Wednesday, the Irish Presidency has managed to secure a qualified majority for a counter-proposal on the software patents directive, with only a few countries - including Belgium and Germany - showing resistance. The new text proposes to discard all the amendments from the European Parliament which would limit patentability. Instead the lax language of the original Commission proposal is to be reinstated in its entirety, with direct patentability of program text fragments added as icing on the cake. The proposal is now scheduled to be confirmed without discussion at a meeting of ministers on 17-18 May, unless one of the Member States changes its vote."

Here is the text of the agreement. Here are the minutes of the negotiations.

Groklaw's Christoph Schaefer reports on Blepp news from German-language news sources that Blepp has been saying that SCO is not against open source:

"'We never dreamed it was possible that the matter would take on such proportions,' explained Gregory Blepp, Vice President of SCO during CeBIT.

"'We had a licence contract with IBM about their Unix variation AIX, and we are firmly convinced IBM violated this contract.' The accusation: lines of code, copyrighted by SCO, were made available to the Open Source community under the General Public Licence (GPL) and slipped into Linux by IBM. 'We, as a small company, couldn't allow such conduct on the part of a contractual partner,' Blepp justified litigation.

"He made clear, it was IBM at first, which made a big thing about it and alarmed the Open Source movement. 'Yet, we don't reject Open Source in general,' Blepp states, 'we just want everything happening legally.' It had to do with charcteristics of the American legal system, that evidence (the code in question, for instance) was withheld as long as possible. In early stages of such legal procedures, large amounts of documents were exchanged. 'We have become a transparent company. There's nothing about us, IBM doesn't know,' the US manager of German origin underlines the current situation of SCO."

That sounds good, the transparent-to-IBM part. There is more than one way to gain transparency. Microsoft has picked off another SuSE guy. The former SuSE sales manager Karl Aigner was recently hired by Microsoft and will be responsible for Data Center Solutions. Aigner was one of the driving forces behind Munich's switch to Linux.

Back to Blepp's comments, here is an interesting bit:

"When SCO then asked for licence fees, some decided to wait for the end of the lawsuit against IBM. 'But these are two kettle of fish,' Blepp says. 'With IBM we have a quarrel about contracts, but apart from that, everybody using our code in Linux has a copyright problem.' And this copyright has to be sued for, of course, just to remain credible. As American law is based to a large extent on precedence, some exemplary judgements would be sufficient, Blepp explains."

Similar statements here:,2828,288966,00.html: "The process against IBM at present still is in the 'Discovery' phase, explains Gregory Blepp, Vice President international from SCO and thus for the license politics of the enterprise responsible, in the discussion with manager 'We want that DaimlerChrysler acknowledges that it uses our code', says Blepp."

Heh heh " Blepp explained additionally that SCO was certain that its chances of success in the Daimler case were 100 per cent. And also with the law case with IBM he is confident."

That seems to bode well for IBM.

Heise had a story on Blepp, from the suitcase story days, that had a sentence about Spanish law, and I wonder if anyone can translate that section better than my computer? Here is the hint from the Heise article:

"For months the SCO investor Baystar Capital is to require itself a more professional occurring in Europe. Blepp, which refers a substantially higher fee than original with the entrance agreed upon of Baystar of the SCO Group, is more operational readiness level to show and the clearly hard requirements of the SCO Group represent. So Baystar emissaries are in this week with resident of Munich venture financial sources to have called and about earlier work samples of Blepp have inquired. . . .

"Hopes of Gregory Blepp for a stronger operational readiness level of SCO in Europe rest now on an appraisal of a Spanish law office given in job. It is to prove that the arguments stated by Novell are invalid to stored European or international right in the controversy over the exclusive holder of a right shank also after that somewhat different for the protection of the mental property."

[original German:

"Für Gregory Blepp kommt die Veröffentlichung dieser Unstimmigkeiten durchaus ungelegen. Seit Monaten soll sich der SCO-Investor Baystar Capital ein professionelleres Auftreten in Europa wünschen. Blepp, der mit dem Einstieg von Baystar von der SCO Group ein erheblich höheres Honorar als ursprünglich vereinbart bezieht, soll mehr Präsenz zeigen und deutlich härter die Ansprüche der SCO Group vertreten. So sollen Baystar-Emissäre in dieser Woche bei Münchner Venture-Kapitalgeber angerufen und sich nach früheren Arbeitsproben von Blepp erkundigt haben. . . .

"Die Hoffnungen von Gregory Blepp auf eine stärkere Präsenz von SCO im europäischen Raum ruhen nun auf einem in Auftrag gegebenen Gutachten einer spanischen Rechtsanwaltskanzlei. Es soll beweisen, dass die von Novell vorgebrachten Argumente im Streit um die alleinige Rechtsinhaberschaft auch nach dem etwas anders gelagerten europäischen beziehungsweise internationalen Recht zum Schutze des geistigen Eigentums ungültig sind." ]

As always, my computer translation does not leave us without a laugh. Here is how it translates this headline stating, I think, that SCO was ordered to show the code:

"SCO muss Code-Hosen herunterlassen"
"SCO must lower code trousers"

Here is a translation from Christoph:

"Blepp's prospects for a stronger presence of SCO in Europe are now based on an expert's opinion, which was commissioned to a Spanish firm of solicitors. It is expected to prove that Novell's arguments in the quarrel about the exclusive legal ownership are invalid in European and international law, which is different [compared to the United States], as well."

And an alternative:

"Blepp is hoping that the works of a Spanish law firm, which is currently furnishing an expert opinion, may finally allow him to show more presence in Europe. The report has been ordered by Blepp to prove that Novell's claims about the sole ownership of the copyrights are invalid according to European and international Laws."

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