A US District Court Judge has hammered what could be the final nail in SCO's coffin by ruling that Novell owns the copyright to Unix and UnixWare.
In a 102-page judgement, Judge Dale Kimball also ruled that Novell has the right, at its sole discretion, to direct SCO to waive its claims against IBM and Sequent, and that SCO owes Novell payment for the Unix licences it sold to Microsoft and Sun.
The judge also dismissed SCO's slander of title, non-compete and unfair competition claims against Novell, but left at issue for trial Novell's cross-claim against SCO for slander of title. However, he declined to grant Novell's request for a constructive trust confiscating SCO's assets to cover SCO's Unix licence liabilities, because the actual amount at stake is a factual issue yet to be determined.
While SCO is yet to issue a statement about the ruling, Novell's senior VP and general counsel, Joe LaSala, says on his company PR blog: "In the spring of 2003, Novell set out to ensure that SCO’s groundless claims would not interfere with the development of Linux. Today’s court ruling vindicates the position Novell has taken since the inception of the dispute with SCO, and it settles the issue of who owns the copyrights of Unix in Novell’s favour. The court’s ruling has cut out the core of SCO’s case and, as a result, eliminates SCO’s threat to the Linux community based upon allegations of copyright infringement of Unix. We are extremely pleased with the outcome."
The full text of Judge Kimball's order can be read at www.groklaw.net .