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Judge deals possibly final blow to SCO over Linux

SCO's request for a new trial is rejected, and an April decision that deemed Novell the rightful owner of key Unix copyrights is upheld.

SCO's long-running campaign against Linux may have finally been dealt a death blow.

Late Thursday, the judge presiding over the company's legal battle with Novell rejected SCO's request for a new trial and upheld an April jury decision that determined Novell, not SCO, is the rightful owner of key Unix copyrights.

"SCO argues that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the 'verdict cannot be squared with the overwhelming evidence and the law,'" Judge Ted Stewart wrote in his decision. "The Court respectfully disagrees. The jury found Novell's version of facts to be more persuasive. This conclusion is well supported by the evidence. There was substantial evidence that Novell made an intentional decision to retain ownership of the copyrights....Therefore, SCO is not entitled to a new trial."

So it seems that after seven years, this charade by SCO is finally over. What will it tell the bankruptcy court now? Earlier this year, former U.S. District Judge Edward Cahn, the company's bankruptcy trustee, told the Salt Lake Tribune that the jury decision will not dissuade it from pursuing its lawsuit against IBM. Said Cahn: "The copyright claims are gone, but we have other claims based on contracts."

Thursday's ruling would seem to be a setback for those plans, but SCO has a history of pressing on in the face of repeated defeats. We'll have to wait to see if one of its Iraqi information minister-style press releases is forthcoming.

In any event, the stoning has begun on Wall Street, where SCO stock is trading under 5 cents a share.