Unix Copyrights Trial: Novell Wins, SCO Loses

The jury in a U.S. District Court in Utah trial between SCO Group and Novell issued a verdict in Novell's favor, Novell said Tuesday.

In a blog, Novell released a statement which read, "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 remains committed to promoting Linux, including by defending Linux on the intellectual property front.

"This decision is good news for Novell, for Linux, and for the open source community."

The decision, on the other hand, is bad news for SCO Group, which is currently struggling through bankruptcy.

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The company restructured in October in order to pursue litigation against IBM and Novell, and earlier this month got an investment of $2 million from a group of unnamed private investors.

The long-running battle over who owns the Unix copyrights stems from a $1 billion lawsuit SCO Group filed against IBM in 2003, accusing Big Blue of donating code to the open-source community that was copied from the Unix OS.

SCO Group has long claimed that it received copyrights to Unix from Novell when the Santa Cruz Operation, SCO's predecessor, acquired Unix from Novell in 1995. Novell, which bought Unix from AT&T, has maintained over the years that the sale of Unix to SCO did not include those copyrights.

SCO Group in 2004 sued Novell, accusing it of interfering with SCO's Unix rights. SCO also charged Novell with "slander of title," or making false statements about SCO's ownership of Unix.

Tuesday's ruling is not the first setback for SCO in its long-running battle with Novell.

In July of 2008, a federal judge found that SCO Group owed Novell $2.5 million for improperly claiming and collecting royalties for the Unix SVRx operating system.