Novell has won an appeal that lets it proceed with an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft.
The software firm now owned by Attachmate first launched its legal attack on Microsoft in 2004, claiming that it was unfairly making deals with computer manufacturers to use Microsoft's Word instead of Novell's WordPerfect.
In 2010 that case was thrown out in a summary judgement, which found that Novell's claims were dependent on an agreement it made with Caldera in 1996, when it assigned lawsuit rights to Caldera. Caldera since gave up its right to sue Microsoft and the courts found that Novell could not do so either.
The appeal, which Novell won with a two-to-one majority, found that the Caldera agreement covers a different set of products, relating to operating systems, and that Novell can therefore continue with its litigation regarding word processors.
“We are disappointed with the Fourth Circuit's decision ... although we are pleased that at this point only one part of one of Novell's claims remains,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters. “We still are convinced that this lingering claim does not have any merit, and we are considering our next steps.”