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SCO owes Novell: final ruling

The long-running battle over Unix copyrights may finally be at its end, as the presiding judge reiterates his ruling that SCO must pay Novell over $3 million.

SCO

The Utah federal judge presiding over the long-running SCO Unix copyright case issued his final ruling on proceedings.

Judge Dale Kimball has ordered the ailing firm to finally cough up more than $2.5 million (1.65 million) in royalties it owed Novell, plus interest, which runs to over $900,000 (594,295).

But the saga may refuse to go away, as the ailing suitor has indicated it may appeal, arguing that the judge's original 2007 ruling was made before the full facts of the case had been agreed.

This final ruling quashes SCO's attempts to waive some of the claims in case of any appeal and reiterates his order this July to pay Novell the damages in restitution for Unix royalties SCO collected from Sun Microsystems without Novell's permission.

The original ruling sent SCO's fortunes into freefall, as it was first delisted from the Nasdaq, then involved in a failed 100-million (66.03-million) capital investment injection while trying to sell of the Unix business, and finally file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last year.

The saga all began when SCO originally brought the slander of title action suit against first IBM and then Novell, for infringing its Unix SVRX copyrights. But it emerged that, having bought the Unix trademarks from Novell a decade before, SCO assumed it also owned the rights to enter into open source licence deals with Sun, as well as other end-user firms.

But when Kimball ruled the copyrights had, in fact, been Novell's all along, SCO was faced with a bill it couldn't pay.

Pamela Jones, the respected legal voice behind the Groklaw blog commented: "Now it's on to an appeal, if SCO can afford it, I suppose. As SCO's lawyer, Arthur Spector, told the court at the September hearing in the bankruptcy, that could take a year and a half or it could take five."

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