A retail trade association in the US says the SCO Group's claim that it owns some of the intellectual property within the Linux operating system is "unfounded".
The National Retail Federation, which represents more than 1.4 million US retailers, concluded that SCO's assertion that it holds the copyright to Unix System V is "without merit", said Dave Hogan, the federation's chief information officer.
"Novell is the last company that can demonstrate legal ownership of Unix System V," he added.
The statement appears designed to assuage fears retailers may have over their use of Linux. The federation "expected that retailers who use Linux will survive the current litigation".
Neither SCO nor the NRF returned calls seeking comment for this story.
SCO acquired certain rights to the Unix System V source code in 2002, but the question of exactly which rights it acquired remains subject to debate. Novell, which purchased the Unix System V copyright from AT&T in 1993, says it still owns the Unix copyright. SCO has sued Novell for slander over these claims
Novell is not the only company to receive the unwanted attention of SCO's lawyers. Last year SCO launched a $5bn lawsuit against IBM, claiming the computer maker had illegally contributed SCO's intellectual property to Linux. In March, SCO sued automotive giant DaimlerChrysler and auto parts retailer AutoZone, and it has threatened to sue other Linux users.
Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service