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Jury mulls over SCO versus Novell

by on29 March 2010


Long and dull legal action


The jury has retired in the federal court trial which pits anti-Linux badboy SCO Group against Novell over which one owns the copyrights to the Unix computer operating system.

After nearly three weeks of testimony, and years of legal wrangles, the jury finally gets to decide. If the 12-member panel says The SCO Group owns the copyrights, then it also is being asked to determine how much money, if any, Novell owes SCO for interfering with its ownership rights. SCO has claimed it lost sales of up to $215 million as a result of Novell's actions. If SCO wins it will then try and take on IBM claiming that Big Blue used the copyrighted Unix code as a basis for changes to the Linux operating system. Then it will start hitting every Linux user in the world to buy a licence.

Novell ended its case Thursday with three witnesses, two of them lawyers who testified they intended for Novell to retain the copyrights to the Unix system in a 1995 agreement that transferred Unix to the Santa Cruz Operations which effectively became SCO. SCO attorney Stuart Singer countered with a document attached to a memo that Bradford had sent to the board, informing it about the deal. The "term sheet" that described major parts of the sales agreement did not say that copyrights were being retained.

SCO recalled witness Robert Frankenberg, the former Novell CEO and board chairman who was in charge of the company when the deal was made. Frankenberg reiterated that former Novell officer Duff Thompson conducted the negotiations and that it was his intention to sell the entire Unix business, including the copyrights.

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