Who Owns Unix?

In an unexpected ruling, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the 2007 summary judgment decision by Judge Dale Kimball of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah that found that Novell owned the Unix and Unixware copyrights, according to a news report in ComputerWorld.

An understandable to a non-lawyer explanation of the 2007 summary judgment can be found here.

The 10th District ruling has the background details of how this all came about over the past six years, for those who are interested. The ComputerWorld article gives a nice but shorter summary.

The result of the 10th District Court ruling is that there will now be a trial to determine whether the SCO Group or Novell owns Unix.

In an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, SCO Group CEO Darl McBride was likely to renew its lawsuit for $1 billion against IBM and Novell, as well as seek licensing fees from companies that run Linux.

For its part, Novell said:

" Novell is carefully studying the decision of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. We are eased that the decision affirmed the district court’s monetary award of approximately $3M from SCO to Novell. On other issues such as ownership of the UNIX copyrights, on which SCO’s claims against Novell, IBM, and Linux users depend, the Court remanded the case for trial. Precisely what will happen next in the lawsuit remains to be seen, especially in light of the pending SCO bankruptcy and the recent court decision to appoint a Chapter 11 Trustee to take over the business affairs of the company."

"Novell intends to vigorously defend the case and the interests of its Linux customers and the greater open source community. We remain confident in the ultimate outcome of the dispute."

 

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