SCO Group has 30 days to outline the specific damages it alleges have been caused by a cloud of confusion kicked up by Novell over whether SCO really does own Unix intellectual property rights, or its case will be dismissed.
SCO is suing Novell on the ground that Novell's public disputation of SCO's position - that it owns Unix intellectual property rights - amounts to slander of title, resulting in economic loss.
But District Court Judge Dale Kimball stated: "SCO has not given this court any information as to the scope of customer confusion, its lost business, or made any allegation that there has, in fact, been a realised pecuniary loss as a result of Novell's statements."
Another Novell motion to dismiss SCO's lawsuit was thrown out, but Judge Kimball also rejected SCO's request to move the case to a state, rather than district, court.
The rulings mean that SCO can press on for now, but will have a tougher job making its case. Shifting the hearing to a state court would mean a less exacting standard.
Trying to do so, SCO argued that the key point is one of interpretation of contracts, which is a state court matter.
But Novell insisted that SCO must prove it owns the copyrights at issue, which means hearing the case in federal court.
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