SCO Wins Unix Appeal - InformationWeek

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Software // Operating Systems

SCO Wins Unix Appeal

The decision paves the way for SCO to continue its claim that IBM and others used SCO Unix code in Linux operating system software.

Returning from its near-death experience, a rejuvenated SCO Group is preparing to continue its $1 billion lawsuit against IBM and related litigation against Novell in the wake of an appellate court decision that favored SCO.

In overturning a 2007 decision that favored Novell over SCO in litigation over Unix code, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' Monday decision paves the way for SCO to continue its claim that IBM and others used SCO Unix code in Linux operating system software.

"Today is not the end of the war, but it certainly is a key battle that we've won," SCO Group CEO Darl McBride told the Salt Lake Tribune of the six-year litigation. "Now it's time to move on to the next series of battles with our victory in hand."

The federal appeals court reversed much of an August 2007 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball who had ruled against SCO's claim of Unix ownership. The lower court decision went against SCO.

In a blog, Novell said: "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."

SCO filed for bankruptcy protection after Judge Kimball issued the earlier opinion against it. Novell noted that the appeals court affirmed $3 million award against SCO.

Although it is in bankruptcy, SCO is not without resources. It has been supported by the deep pockets of private equity firm Stephen Norris Capital Partners, whose belief that SCO would prevail in litigation over the software code has now been confirmed by the appeals decision. SCO's cases against IBM and Novell are still pending in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

The six-year-long litigation has also featured Byzantine jockeying by prominent attorneys and their equally prominent firms. Famed litigator David Boies has represented SCO in its litigation against IBM. As a young and rapidly rising litigator, Boies represented IBM in prolonged antitrust litigation.

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