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November 25, 2008

SCO Owes Novell $2.5 Million Plus in Final Judgment Order From Linux Copyright Case

The last chapter in the SCO suit against Novell, IBM, and the Linux operating system (figuratively, not a defendant), has been written.  Judge Dale Kimball reiterated the terms of his July, 2008 order that effectively ended the case.  SCO's copyright claims are gone.  The company didn't have the intellectual property rights in Unix it was trying to enforce.  Moreover, SCO couldn't prove the claims it had against IBM, that the Linux code IBM distributed was stolen from Unix.  It's a sad chapter in technology litigation when a company blusters its way into court with little or nothing to back up the charges.  Hoping for a settlement and a non-resolution of the issues is not an option when dealing with lawyer buying deep pockets such as IBM and Novell. 

The best site to have ever covered this case is Groklaw, and the commentary on this latest development is no exception.  That is available here, including links to the latest ruling in the case.  As noted, there is a possibility that SCO could appeal.  There's not much likelihood, however.  SCO is in bankruptcy and it owes Novell a ton of money.  The interest clock keeps ticking as well, so the dollars keep slip, slip sliding away.  I'm not even sure what the lesson is for anyone except litigants should be able to back up their claims.  Something was fishy early on when SCO tried to manipulate discovery so that IBM had the burden of identifying where it had violated SCO's claimed copyrights.  The court was not amused by that tactic.  It was all downhill from there.  Novell asserted its own rights in the Unix operating system which completely undercut SCO's claims against Linux vendors.  Maybe another lesson is to be careful who gets angered by your actions.  In any event, a lot of this was unnecessary and a colossal waste of money.  If there is any life left in SCO after this case, please don't use it to appeal.

View other commentary about the SCO case from Computerworld, and Information Week. [MG]

November 25, 2008 | Permalink


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