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New trial means Unix ownership still up for debate

SCO vs Novell spat still alive and kicking

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A US federal appeals court overturned a judge’s ruling that granted Novell the copyright of the Unix computer OS yesterday.

A panel of three judges of the 10th US circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a judge in the August 2007 case wrongfully handed the copyright to Novell.

As a result the panel has ordered a “remand for trial” to establish ownership.

Lindon, Utah-based SCO Group has locked horns with Novell in a lengthy legal battle to determine which firm owns the Unix computer operating system copyright.

Recently, SCO was blocked from selling off part of its biz in order to fund its ongoing litigation against IBM and Novell for claimed Unix licences. It filed for bankruptcy protection in 2007.

SCO kicked off its legal spat in 2003 by claiming that IBM had given its intellectual property away to Linux.

"For us it's a case of survival, of protecting what we own", SCO boss Darl McBride told the Associated Press.

Novell could not immediately be reached for comment at time of writing.

“We take no position on which party ultimately owns the Unix copyrights or which copyrights were required for Santa Cruz [SCO] to exercise its rights under the agreement,” the court wrote. “Such matters are for the finder of fact on remand.”

A trial date has not yet been set by the appeals panel.

Groklaw has more here, including a full copy of the appeal decision. ®

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