Microsoft has lost another of its attempts to avoid EU anti-trust penalties.

A US judge yesterday rejected Microsoft's attempt to force Novell to hand over documents it presented to European regulators as part of the EU anti-trust case against Microsoft.

The judge said he had turned down the request as Microsoft was trying to "circumvent and undermine" European law, according to the BBC.

"Enforcing Microsoft's subpoena to Novell would circumvent and undermine the law of the European Community concerning how a litigant may obtain third-party documents," the judge explained.

Microsoft was trying to get access to documents related to its ongoing battle with the European Commission,

US District Court judge Mark Wolf granted Novell's motion to quash the subpoena. He said the European Commission's support of Novell's motion to quash the subpoena also factored into his decision.

The judge also observed that Microsoft had changed its claims on whether the European Commission had the authority to obtain the documents from Novell and then give them to Microsoft.

In his ruling, the judge said that Microsoft had informed him on several occasions that the Commission did not have this authority, but then admitted later this assertion was not true.

On March 30, a California judge denied Microsoft's request to subpoena Sun and Oracle for the same purposes. A New York judge is currently considering another subpoena against IBM Corp.

The ruling comes a week before Microsoft faces the EU's second-highest court to appeal against an EC ruling that it has abused its market dominance in contravention of local competition regulations.