Novell wins rights to Unix copyrights
SCO also owes Novell for licensing revenue paid by Sun and Microsoft
A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division, found that Novell is the owner of the Unix and UnixWare copyrights, dismissing SCO's charges of slander and breach of contract.
The judge also ruled that SCO owes Novell for SCO's licensing revenue from Sun Microsystems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. SCO is obligated to pass through to Novell a portion of that revenue, the judge said.
In the ruling, the judge said SCO must pay Novell, but the amount will be determined in a trial, said Pamela Jones, founder and editor of Groklaw, a Web site that follows legal issues related to open-source software.
In another major blow to SCO, the judge said that because Novell is the owner of the Unix copyrights, it can direct SCO to revoke its copyright-infringement claims against IBM Corp. and Sequent. Novell has done so already, but SCO has not honored that direction.
"SCO can't sue IBM for copyright infringement on copyrights it doesn't own," Jones said.
The ruling is good news for organizations that use open-source software products, said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. "From the perspective of someone who is adopting open-source solutions to run in the enterprise, it proves to them that the industry is going to defend the platform, and that when organizations attack it from a legal perspective, that the industry collectively will defend it," he said.
The decision is "abysmal" news for SCO, according to Zemlin. "Their future is looking bleak," he said.
SCO, which may appeal Friday's decision, did not reply to requests for comment.
In a statement, Novell said the ruling cut out the core of SCO's case and in the process eliminated SCO's threat to the Linux community.
Still outstanding are several counterclaims. For example, Novell's slander of title counterclaim against SCO is still ongoing and will go to trial, Jones said.
The case is so complex that the judge asked the parties to file a document with what they think is outstanding in the IBM case, Jones said. Those documents must be filed by Aug. 31.
The battle began in 2003 when SCO filed a suit against IBM claiming that it had violated SCO's rights by contributing Unix code to Linux. The following year, SCO sued Novell, saying that Novell falsely claimed it owned rights to Unix.
Related News and Discussion:
- Q&A: McBride says SCO isn't dead yet, despite legal loss
- Grokking SCO's demise
- Ruling Against SCO Provides 'Small Relief' to Linux Users
- Ballmer: Linux users owe Microsoft
- Readers blast Ballmer for saying Linux users owe Microsoft
Read more about Legal in Computerworld's Legal Topic Center.
- Agility & Scalability for Oracle EBS R12 and RAC on VMware vSphere 5 This white paper outlines extensive performance and scalability testing of Oracle EBS applications on a Vblock™ Systems with vSphere 5.
- Oracle and VCE: The Next Step in Integrated Computing Platforms In this ESG Lab review you will learn how a VCE system driven by Oracle, delivers the perfect blend of high performance and...
- Migrate Oracle Apps from RISC/UNIX to Virtualized x86 Ready to move Oracle to a virtualized environment? This brief explains how true converged infrastructure can help you migrate from a RISC/UNIX environment...
- Step Out of the Bull's-Eye Learn about the evolution of targeted attacks, the latest in security intelligence, and strategic steps to keep your business safe.
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their... All Legal White Papers | Webcasts