Judge closes book on SCO's claim to Unix

By upholding jury's decision, judge potentially puts an end to lawsuits between SCO and anyone who uses Linux

Linux developers and users of the world fearing they might be next on SCO's lawsuit docket can breathe a sigh of relief: A district court judge today upheld a U.S. District Court jury's decision from April that Novell, not SCO, is the rightful owner of key Unix copyrights. District Judge Ted Stewart further denied SCO's request for a new trial or a judgment of law, according to reports.

SCO challenged the April ruling on the grounds that the jury's verdict that SCO had only bought rights to UnixWare OS and not Unix itself wasn't in line with the evidence. Stewart determined that the jury's final decision was, in fact, well supported by substantial evidence.

[ Also on InfoWorld.com: HP to buy slim Linux OS | Stay ahead of the key tech business news with InfoWorld's Today's Headlines: First Look newsletter. ]

Today's ruling could mean that SCO will drop a lawsuit against IBM dating back to 2003. SCO sued IBM, claiming Big Blue violated its rights by contributing Unix code to Linux. Given that SCO's case against IBM hinged on its claim to the Unix SVRX copyright -- a claim that has been rejected by a jury and now upheld by a judge -- pursuing the matter any further wouldn't make much sense.

Then again, SCO has proven itself a determined legal combatant, having fought long and hard in cases against Novell, IBM, DaimlerChrysler, and AutoZone. Further, an SCO spokesperson said back in April that SCO has other claims related to contracts that it could assert against IBM.

Whether or not IBM still has to face SCO in court for contract reasons, today's ruling means other companies that users and developers use of Unix have no need to fear a subpoena from SCO.

This article, "Judge closes book on SCO's claim to Unix," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.