SALT LAKE CITY (August 31, 2011) –Morrison & Foerster secured for Novell, Inc. a momentous Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals victory in its litigation with The SCO Group, Inc., marking what may well be the final chapter of the seven-year lawsuit over ownership of the Unix computer operating system.
On August 30, the Denver-based appeals court affirmed a 2010 jury verdict and corresponding court decision that found Novell to be the rightful owner of Unix.
Morrison & Foerster partner Michael Jacobs, who has led the Novell case since its inception, said, “We appreciate the Court of Appeals’ careful review of the record and affirmance of the jury verdict. We hope and anticipate that this ruling brings this long litigation to a close.”
SCO filed suit in 2004, alleging it had purchased Unix from Novell in the 1990s and accusing Novell of slander of title, copyright infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract, and other causes of action. SCO claimed that Unix source code had been wrongfully contributed to Linux, a popular open-source competitor to Microsoft Windows that is used in corporate and academic settings, and that SCO was entitled to licensing fees from companies using Linux. SCO sought hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
Morrison & Foerster prevailed on behalf of Novell at virtually every stage of the case. A 2008 bench trial found for Novell on its counterclaims and awarded it $2.5 million plus interest. In 2010, the district court conducted a trial on the Unix copyright ownership aspects of the case after remand from the Tenth Circuit. The jury affirmed Novell’s ownership of the Unix copyrights, rejecting SCO’s claims for damages.
In addition to Mr. Jacobs, the Morrison & Foerster trial team included partners Eric Acker and Daniel Muino, Of Counsel Grant Kim, and associates Nathan Sabri, Patricia Svilik, and Jason Hall. Partners Deanne Maynard and Brian Matsui also contributed to the appeal efforts on behalf of Novell.