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3/31/2010
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Novell Wins Unix Case Against SCO

A federal jury ruled that Novell, not SCO Group, owns the Unix copyrights, but SCO said it would continue its fight.

The open source community, Novell, and IBM are breathing a collective sigh of relief after a Utah federal jury ruled that Novell -- and not SCO Group -- owns the copyrights to Unix.

SCO had sued Novell in 2004, claiming Novell owed it millions of dollars. SCO attempted to drag IBM and the entire open source community into the issue, claiming that SCO had rights to Unix code that found its way into some open source code.

"Novell is very pleased with the jury's decision confirming Novell's ownership of the Unix copyrights, which SCO had asserted to own in its attack on Linux," Novell said in a statement. "Novell remains committed to promoting Linux, including by defending Linux on the intellectual property front."

SCO, which has been on the brink of bankruptcy for several months, held out hope to prevail in some smaller claims connected to the case.

"There's some important claims remaining to be decided by a judge," SCO's trial lawyer, Stuart H. Singer of the Boies, Schiller, & Flexner law firm, told the Associated Press. "It's a setback, but it's not over."

Former federal judge Edward Cahn, who has been running SCO during its ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, said SCO still has some claims against IBM. In 2003, SCO had sued IBM for what it claimed was the use of Unix code to make improvements to Linux.

Although he's no longer with SCO, Darl McBride, the SCO CEO who spearheaded much of the case, was in attendance during the recent trial.

Among the many Byzantine twists of the marathon saga was that famed litigator David Boies, whose firm represented SCO, once represented IBM when he was a rapidly rising litigator in antitrust litigation. Now he has been facing his former client in the SCO-IBM case.

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