Novell wins in court; SCO eyes new fights

A federal jury concludes that Novell owns the rights to Linux, foiling SCO's plan to seek millions of dollars in licensing fees. But SCO isn't quite done yet.

John Paczkowski
2 min read

SCO's seemingly endless legal campaign over the copyrights to Unix may finally be over.

On Tuesday afternoon, a federal jury found that Novell owns the rights to the operating system, foiling SCO's plan to seek millions of dollars in licensing fees from companies it accused of illegally distributing its proprietary Unix code with the Linux OS.

Great news for the open-source community and for the long-suffering Novell, which has been battling SCO for quite some time now.

"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," the company said in a statement. "Novell remains committed to promoting Linux, including by defending Linux on the intellectual property front."

Meanwhile, SCO, while obviously struck low by Tuesday's verdict, evidently intends to forge on with its suit against IBM, which it also claims misappropriated Unix and built it into Linux. Former U.S. District Judge Edward Cahn, the trustee for SCO's bankruptcy, told the Salt Lake Tribune that the jury decision will not dissuade it from pursuing its lawsuit against Big Blue. Said Cahn: "The copyright claims are gone, but we have other claims based on contracts."

Astonishing. As I wrote of SCO back in 2004:

"There's a scene at the end of Martin Scorsese's remake of 'Cape Fear' in which villain Max Cady, having been shot, stabbed, burned and beaten, continues to threaten his victims even as he's drowning, handcuffed to a sinking houseboat. I think of that scene every time I read that SCO has filed another motion in its ill-starred copyright infringement suits."