Monday, October 15, 2007, 2:13 PM

Fourth Circuit: Novell's Antitrust Claims Against Microsoft Can Go Forward

Today the Fourth Circuit, ruling on an interlocutory appeal, affirmed District Judge Motz's order which granted in part and denied in Microsoft's motion to dismiss antitrust claims filed against it by Novell. The case is Novell, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp. The claims allege anticompetitive conduct in the PC operating-systems market, as well as monopolization or attempted monopolization of markets for office-productivity applications (e.g., Word Perfect). The Court, in an opinion by Judge Duncan, agreed that some of Novell's claims were time barred. As for the other claims, the Court rejected Microsoft's arguments that Novell didn't have antitrust standing (applying Assoc. Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519 (1983)).

This is a noteworthy decision on antitrust standing, although the Court emphasized that its decision is limited to Novell's standing on these facts and shouldn't be viewed as "unduly expanding the universe of private antitrust plaintiffs."

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