Novell Moves to Dismiss SCO Suit

Business software-maker Novell is asking a U.S. District Court in Central Utah to dismiss SCO’s “slander of title” lawsuit against the company, which also involves Unix V copyrights that are part of SCO’s $3 billion lawsuit against IBM.

“We asked for dismissal because we think SCO has failed to allege the facts sufficient to support slander of title,” Novell spokesman Bruce Lowry told

SCO slapped the lawsuit on Novell on January 20th accusing Novell of “slander of title” and alleging a “bad faith effort in an effort to “interfere with SCO’s rights with respect to Unix and UnixWare.”

The suit came after Novell challenged SCO Group’s ownership of Unix System V copyrights; SCO Group also claims that IBM’s own Unix flavors of AIX and Dynix products are derivatives of its Unix System V.

The motion, filed Monday, comes as the industry awaits word on SCO’s separate lawsuit against IBM. In that case a judge is
expected to decide Friday whether SCO can tack on copyright infringement claims to its existing $3 billion dispute with IBM over whether Linux contains SCO’s intellectual property.

Novell’s just-filed motion for dismissal rebuts those charges head on. SCO hasn’t come up with “acts sufficient to support two necessary elements of slander of title: falsity and special charges,” the motion claimed.

“As to falsity, the documents SCO relies upon to establish ownership of the copyrights fail on their face to meet the federal copyright law requirements for such an instrument. Without conclusively establishing that it owns the Unix and Unixware copyrights, SCO cannot show the Novell’s statements to the contrary are false, and cannot prevail,” Novell argued.

Novell’s Lowry said of the copyright charge: “SCO’s documents are general, not specific as the law requires.”

As for specific damages, he said SCO has to show it has lost money. “They’re making some general statements that this has hurt their business, but they haven’t established specific damages.”

SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said the company will “continue to aggressively defend these Unix copyrights in our court case against Novell. In the next 20 days, we expect that SCO’s lawyers will file a response motion to this filing by Novell.”

Stowell also rebutted Novell’s arguments. “SCO owns the copyrights to Unix. The transfer of these copyrights is made plain, clear and unambiguous in the 1995 Asset Purchase Agreement between SCO and Novell,” he said.

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