Novell has filed a new volley in its legal case to fend off a Linux battle with SCO, arguing in a motion to dismiss a suit against it that The SCO Group has no written proof regarding its Unix copyright claims against Novell.

"No amount of hand waving can rescue SCO's complaint from its infirmities," argued Novell lawyers in the document, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Utah, which was obtained by internetnews.com.

Novell's motion came after SCO argued that its slander and business interference case against Novell should go forward.

The two companies have been embroiled in a legal battle since late January, when SCO hit Novell with a "slander of title" lawsuit alleging a "bad faith effort to interfere with SCO's rights with respect to Unix and UnixWare."

SCO charged that Novell improperly filed copyright registrations for Unix technology that it says are covered by SCO's own copyrights. SCO also alleges that Novell made false statements that caused damage to SCO's business.

Novell's latest motion pushes back on both claims.

In the first part of its response, Novell lawyers argued that SCO has failed to show any written document verifying its claim that Novell transferred away ownership of its Unix or Unixware copyrights.

"SCO has not identified that written instrument," the Novell papers said. "Absent such a written instrument, ownership could not have transferred."

The Novell papers also rebut any notion that passive copyright transfers took place. "SCO's argument that the copyrights were transferred because the time to assign has come and gone is contradicted by the documents," the filing stated.

Novell's second argument for dismissal is that SCO hasn't been able to adequately back up its slander of title claims."Notwithstanding its [request] for attorney's fees, SCO has not adequately pled special damages," the document noted. Essentially, Novell is arguing that SCO cannot or did not provide verifiable evidence that it has suffered enough of a loss as a result of any alleged Novell actions -- and therefore the court doesn't need to even consider the issue before it.

SCO officials were not immediately available for comment.

No dates have been set yet for further action in the case.

Source: March 25, 2004;By Alexander Wolfe