Novell won a significant ruling in its lengthy battle with The SCO Group on Friday.

A judge in the US District Court for the District of Utah Central District found that Novell is the owner of the Unix and UnixWare copyrights, dismissing SCO's charges of slander and breach of contract.

The judge also ruled that SCO owes Novell for SCO's licensing revenue from Sun Microsystems and Microsoft. SCO is obligated to pass through to Novell a portion of those licences, the judge said.

The ruling may have implications for SCO's ongoing lawsuit against IBM. SCO has alleged that IBM has violated its intellectual property by contributing to Linux. Now that a court has ruled that SCO does not own the Unix copyright, those claims may be diminished.