Ding, dong SCO is dead

A federal district judge has sounded the death knell for SCO's patent claims against Linux.

Though SCO still has the option to appeal, a federal district court judge Dale Kimball has now effectively written its death sentence in the form of a somewhat blistering final judgment (PDF), as Groklaw reports.

SCO, once the bane of the open-source world, is effectively dead. The company, which long ago stopped trying to make useful products and instead morphed into a boutique law firm, has seen its revenue slide into oblivion while Novell, which stood up to SCO and has now won in court, has seen its Linux revenue jump.

Lesson? You can only milk a weak intellectual property claim for so long. Ars Technica gives the details of the final judgment against SCO:

Judge Kimball determined that SCO was subject to a contract with Novell, which it violated by lifting SVRX confidentiality provisions in a licensing agreement with Sun. This move exceeded the authority granted to SCO under the terms of a 1994 asset purchase agreement that enabled SCO to sell limited SVRX licenses to third parties on behalf of Novell. Judge Kimball also determined that SCO breached its fiduciary duty by neglecting to remit the requisite portion of the licensing revenue to Novell. In addition to the $2,547,817 that SCO was originally ordered to pay to Novell in a previous judgment, SCO will also have to pay $918,122 in prejudgment interest and $489 per day from August 29 until November 20.

It's possible that someone will invest more money in SCO to take a gamble on the lawsuit turning in SCO's favor on appeal, but this is doubtful. SCO's claims have been demonstrated in court to be false, leaving any would-be litigant with no real possibility of winning.

The largely unsung hero in all this? Novell. Novell has stuck with the litigation for five years. Thank you, Novell. I may disagree with the company on other issues, but on SCO and other patent trolls we can agree.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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