Court rules against Utah’s SCO over Unix copyrights

Tom Harvey
The Salt Lake Tribune

August 30, 2011

A federal appeals court has upheld a jury verdict and a lower court ruling in a trial that found Novell Inc. — not The SCO Group — owned the copyrights to the Unix computer software operating system before 1995.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the jury’s verdict from last year in a lawsuit filed by SCO in 2004 as part of its broader efforts to sue IBM over alleged use of Unix code as a model for parts of the rival Linux operating system.

The court upheld the verdict against SCO, saying "ample evidence in the record supported the jury’s verdict and Novell’s position." It also upheld rulings in Novell’s favor by U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart, who presided over the trial.

Novell said in a statement only that it "is pleased that the jury verdict and Court ruling have been upheld. "

Michael Jacobs, an attorney with the San Francisco law firm that represented Novell, said the ruling most likely means the end of the case.

"Both sides have had their day in court," he said. "We hope this brings finality to the matter."

The IBM lawsuit is still pending in federal court in Salt Lake City, but it isn’t clear whether it will be pursued by the remnants of The SCO Group. Attorney Edward Cahn, the court-appointed trustee in SCO’s 2007 bankruptcy who is in charge of the company, did not return messages Tuesday seeking comment.

Earlier this year, the bankruptcy court allowed the sale of the Unix operating system to another company, UnXis, leaving The SCO Group in possession of only its litigation against Novell and IBM. Remaining Utah SCO employees at the time of the sale were either hired by UnXis or let go.

Copyright 2011