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Novell (not SCO) owns UNIX, says jury

Yes, SCO vows to fight on

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A federal jury has decided that UNIX is owned by Novell - not SCO.

But no, this does not mark the end of SCO's epic legal battle against the Linux industry.

On Tuesday, the AP reports, after a trial in Salt Lake City, Utah, a jury ruled that Novell still controls the copyrights to UNIX despite a 15-year-old deal that transfered certain other UNIX rights to an earlier incarnation of the Utah-based SCO.

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

In 1995, Novell sold the Unix source code and some additional assets to the company, and SCO contends that a 1996 amendment transferred copyrights as well. In 2003, it started waving those copyrights at one Linux outfit after another, eventually entering a licensing agreement with Sun and suing everyone from IBM to DaimlerChrysler.

In 2004, Novell insisted that it had not sold the copyrights, arguing that the IBM suit was invalid, and SCO responded by filing suit against Novell as well. A judge eventually ruled in favor of Novell, but an appeals court later called for a jury trial to decide on the copyright question.

The jury ruling is certainly a blow to SCO - which has sought bankruptcy protection as it fights to keep itself alive without any real revenues - but its case against IBM is still pending. "It's a setback," SCO trial lawyer said of the ruling, "but it's not over." ®

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