A judge has refused a second motion to dismiss SCO's slander lawsuit against Novell in their ongoing Unix intellectual-property rights battle.
Judge Dale Kimball threw out Novell's motion to dismiss the slander of title suit on Monday.
SCO and Novell are embroiled in a fight over the ownership of copyrights to Unix and Unixware. SCO claims ownership through a complicated series of mergers and acquisitions in the 1990s, but Novell denies that it sold the copyrights to Unix and Unixware to Santa Cruz Operations, SCO's predecessor.
SCO claims that Novell maliciously asserted its copyright claims to Unix at a sensitive time, by releasing a press release on 28 May 2003, to coincide with SCO's statement of earnings release. SCO alleges that Novell maliciously did this in order to undermine shareholder confidence in SCO and drive down the price of SCO's shares.
Novell argues that its press release stating its ownership was made in good faith as "due to the courts prior ruling the issue of who owns Unix rights is not obvious and therefore Novell cannot have acted with malice in asserting its ownership".
Judge Kimball found that the court's prior ruling over lack of clarity of rights ownership did not necessarily preclude malice on Novell's part. The judge also said there was insufficient 'discovery' (disclosure of pertinent facts or documents) at present regarding the rights ownership case to make a decision which would favour either party.
SCO is also suing IBM for allegedly using Unix code whilst developing Linux.