Two months after a Utah judge refused to dismiss a slander lawsuit filed against Novell Inc. by The SCO Group Inc., the Linux vendor has again moved for dismissal in the case, according to documents filed late last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.

SCO cannot prove its slander case because there is a legitimate dispute over who owns the Unix copyright, and the case should, therefore, be dismissed, Novell’s Aug. 6 filing argues. “SCO cannot show that Novell acted with malice,” they say.

Both Novell and SCO have claimed ownership of copyright to the Unix System V source code and last January, SCO brought the lawsuit against Novell, arguing that the Waltham, Mass., company had engaged in a bad faith effort to block SCO’s ability to enforce its copyrights.

Novell sold its Unix business, which was eventually acquired by SCO, in the mid-1990s, but it argues that the Unix copyrights were not transferred as part of this deal, a claim that is disputed by SCO.

In a June ruling on a separate motion, the judge in the case indicated that a 1996 contract amendment made it unclear whether SCO or Novell now owns the Unix copyright.

Novell’s filings cite this ruling as proof that there is a legitimate copyright dispute.

SCO spokesperson Blake Stowell declined to comment on Novell’s latest filings, except to say, “I’m sure that we’ll respond to this latest filing by Novell with some kind of a response filing of our own.”

Novell could not be reached for comment on this story.



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