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Microsoft to Ask for Dismissal of Novell Lawsuit

Microsoft intends to ask the court to dismiss a Novell antitrust lawsuit, after a hung jury in Utah could not come to an accord on the case last week.

Novell filed the lawsuit seven years ago, claiming Microsoft abused its dominant position in the PC operating system market to harm Novell's desktop applications business. On Friday, jury members at the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, Utah, informed the judge they were unable to reach a unanimous decision, and the judge declared a mistrial.

Novell said that it will seek a re-trial in the case.

In a filing to U.S. federal judge J. Frederick Motz, Microsoft's lawyer said Monday that the company intends to renew its motion for judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

A motion for a judgment as a matter of law is a request for relief on the basis that the opposite party's case does not have legally sufficient evidence for any reasonable jury to take a decision. It can be renewed as a second chance after a jury trial.

In ruling on the renewed motion, under Rule 50 the court may allow judgment on the verdict if the jury returned a verdict, order a new trial, or direct the entry of judgment as a matter of law.

Microsoft will submit papers in support of its motion on Jan. 13. The company will argue that based on the evidence presented by Novell, it failed to meet the legal standard on some elements of the case, and therefore, the case should be dismissed, a Microsoft spokesman said.

Novell did not have an immediate comment on Microsoft's move. The company was acquired earlier this year by The Attachmate Group and is now a subsidiary of that company.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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