Wednesday, 31 March 2010 08:17

Jury gives Novell ownership of UNIX copyrights


A jury in Utah has awarded the ownership of the UNIX copyrights to Novell, ending a long-running battle with SCO.

The case was sent to a jury trial in August last year by an appeals court which ruled that a decision on ownership of the UNIX copyrights could only be made by a jury, not a judge.

This meant that a 2007 judgement, that had already given Novell ownership of these same copyrights, had to be set aside.

The case has been going for almost six years. It was filed in 2004 by SCO after Novell asserted its rights to the UNIX copyrights.

Novell's action, in May 2003, came after SCO had filed a case against IBM in March 2003, claiming that IBM had violated contractual obligations it had with SCO by contributing UNIX code to Linux.

SCO based its case against IBM on a claim that it had purchased the UNIX rights from Novell in 1995; this led to Novell's claim and, subsequently, SCO's suit.

In a statement overnight, Novell said it was "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. Novell remains committed to promoting Linux, including by defending Linux on the intellectual property front.

"This decision is good news for Novell, for Linux, and for the open source community."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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