EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.13.11

Microsoft Patent Cartel (CPTN) Dodges German Federal Cartel Office

Posted in Antitrust, Finance, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 8:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Old policeman

Summary: The regulatory process regarding CPTN in Germany is hindered by a Microsoft manoeuvre which avoids contact with the German Federal Cartel Office

SOME SEEMINGLY-conflicting reports either confirm or refute the claims we covered the other day. It seems to be a bit of both and while AttachMSFT [sic] looks for a loan with which to buy Novell, it seems likely that Microsoft (MSFT) will get Novell’s patents after all.

Fortunately, while some people go by Microsoft’s word, Groklaw explains that it is more complicated than that and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols emphasises that “CPTN Holdings is still trying to buy Novell’s patents”:

Sources close to Novell told me that was indeed the case. The CPTN group will be re-filing to obtain the patents. Their plans haven’t changed a bit. A Microsoft representative confirmed that CPTN was still planning on buying the patents. The PR rep said, “This is a purely procedural step necessary to provide time to allow for review of the proposed transaction.”

Now, this is not to say that the Novell deal is sure to happen. I find it more than a little odd that Attachmate was still looking for just over a billion dollars to close the deal in late December. Microsoft is already helping Attachmate buy Novell and Attachmate was already getting a steal of a deal on Novell.

The FSFE, whose leadership is mostly based in Germany, has just expressed concerns about CPTN:

As a consequence, if the sale of Novell’s patents to CPTN is allowed to go ahead, this will significantly increase the legal threat level for Free Software.

This is why FSFE is extremely concerned about the sale of Novell’s patents to CPTN. We have shared our concerns with the German competition authorities on December 22, 2010.

CPTN apparently withdrew its filing with the German authorities on December 30. This could mean that the companies behind CPTN are changing their strategy, or that they’re merely reformulating their application. It definitely doesn’t mean that the danger is over.

The competition authorities should only allow this deal if there are effective measures in place to prevent the patents in question from being used against Free Software in an attempt to restrict competition. As an effective measure, CPTN Holdings should be required to make the patents in question available under conditions which allow their use in Free Software, including in programs distributed under GNU General Public License (GPL) and other copyleft licenses.

The Microsoft booster simply says that “Microsoft’s Novell patent cartel dodges German regulators” (yes, that’s the headline from a Microsoft booster, who is close to the company). To quote:

But IT World has pointed out that this relates only to Germany and that CPTN continues to exist as a US limited liability company registered with the Secretary of State for Delaware (see here).

Further, Microsoft has told TechFlash that the withdrawal from Germany is a “purely procedural step necessary to provide time to allow for review of the proposed transaction.”

“Procedural” indeed.

Such is the concern over the deal that in December, the OSI lodged an official complaint with the Federal Cartel Office, asking regulators to investigate the sale of the patents.

OSI president Michael Tiemann announced the OSI’s request to German regulators in a blog post on December 29, the day before CPTN quietly wrapped up operations.

The still-widely-covered OSI complaint can perhaps be refiled as well, e.g. to address US regulators (although the FTC is clawless and toothless).

Going back a month or so, we have this analysis which discusses Microsoft’s partners/allies too:

Novell’s Patents Bought By Microsoft, Apple, EMC, & Oracle (From ZDNet) This news raises even more questions about the Novell acquisition. Is VMware really out of the picture? Is Apple getting into the enterprise space? Will Microsoft even get the lion’s share of the IP?

Android will be a potential target of CPTN, as a former Novell employee (Zonker) helps explain in a new column. Google also seems concerned about Nortel patents, thus showing everything that is wrong about the patent system especially once companies implode. To quote this recent report about it:

Apple, Nokia and Google are all expected to bid for Nortel’s huge patents hoard. The winner could help decide the licensing structures for LTE.

LTE deployments and trials may be stacking up, but one significant aspect remains fraught with uncertainty – the patent position.

In previous generations of mobile technology, individual IPR holders might argue bitterly over rights and royalties, but the process was well understood – and took place strictly behind closed doors, with bilateral agreements.

In other news, there is another investigation which seeks to block the Novell deal [1, 2] and it is covered in a press release that says in the beginning:

Novell Inc. announced on November 22, 2010 that it had agreed to sell the company to Attachment Corporation for $6.10 per share for a total transaction value of $2.2 billion. Attachmate is owned by Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital and Thoma Bravo. In conjunction with the sale, Novell announced that it has agreed to sell certain intellectual property to CPTN Holdings LLC for $450 million in cash.

Levi & Korsinsky LLP is going to challenge this deal, so maybe it’s premature to say that Novell is sold. It is also possible that Microsoft won’t get Novell’s patents at the end.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Primer to the Crisis and Scandals at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    An introduction to the chaotic state of what used to be the world's leading patent office and quickly became Europe's biggest embarrassment



  2. Workers of the European Patent Office (EPO) Are Going on Strike Again, Almost 90% Voted in Favour

    Thousands of brave EPO employees chose to cast a vote and make it known that they are in favour of another strike



  3. Benoît Battistelli Has Lost the Election at the EPO

    FFPE candidates (or moles from the yellow union) failed to enter the Central Staff Committee in spite of Battistelli's attempt to help them get in



  4. Emerging Threat to Patent Reforms at the USPTO

    Our plan of returning to coverage of US patent affairs in the wake of powerful lobbies that pursue patent maximalism



  5. You Know That the Unitary Patent (UPC) is in Huge Peril When Its Biggest Fans Admit It's Unlikely to Happen Even Next Year

    The tactics of Team UPC turn ugly as they personally target anyone who stands in their way, even a professor/judge who is courageous enough to state the obvious



  6. More Than Six Human Casualties Under Battistelli at the EPO, But the Human Toll Can Become a Lot Worse

    The bigger or much broader picture detailing the high cost of autocracy and mental torture at the EPO, where lives are ruined not only when these are ended and some key buildings pose severe threat to a lot of workers



  7. EPO's Elodie Bergot Calls Staff Suicide Just 'Passing Away', Pretends to Care

    How the EPO continues to mislead if not lie to staff, even when staff commits suicide -- a growing problem for Team Battistelli, whom some insiders hold accountable for these deaths



  8. The Administrative Tribunal of ILO Will Deliver EPO Judgments in Six Days

    Despite its old age (nearly a century), ILO's tradition when it comes to enforcing the law is anything but sterling, yet one can hope that it will stop its unproductive cat-and-mouse game with the EPO, where compliance is rare and actual judgments (not deferrals/referrals) are even rarer



  9. Links 21/6/2017: Red Hat's Numbers Are Up, New Debian Being Studied

    Links for the day



  10. Another Suicide Reported at the EPO While the Paid-for Media Focuses on 'European Inventor Award' Charade

    Puff pieces for Benoît Battistelli published aplenty while the European media refuses to deal with the reality -- not paid-for illusions -- at the European Patent Office



  11. Links 20/6/2017: Chuwi Lapbook, Linux 4.12 RC6, Mesa 17.1.3

    Links for the day



  12. At the European Inventor Award Ceremony Benoît Battistelli Lied to a Lot of Scientists and “Media Partners” About the UPC

    The Liar in Chief, Benoît Battistelli, still lives in a fantasy world or simply lies intentionally, which would be worse



  13. Contact Details for the EPO's Administrative Council Delegations

    List of Heads of Delegation and their E-mail addresses (used to be public information before Benoît Battistelli's oppressive regime or coup)



  14. Don't Forget to Vote for EPO Strike This Week (Thursday)

    A reminder that there's a vote on a strike at the European Patent Office later this week, giving an opportunity to rebut the "vocal minority" myth which Benoît Battistelli likes to spread



  15. European Patent Office (EPO) Whistleblowing Guidelines: Motivation and Impact of Leaks

    Advice on when to leak and what to leak for the desired effect, which is reformatory (though transparency and accountability)



  16. Links 18/6/2017: New Debian Release, Catchup With a Lot of News

    Links for the day



  17. Appalling Press Coverage Regarding the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    How the media has lied (and keeps lying) about the UPC, which the European public neither needs nor wants, putting aside serious constitutional issues that are associated with the UPC



  18. The Writings on the Wall at the European Patent Office: Number of Directors May Soon Decline From 150 to Just 65-70

    Battistelli is seizing more direct and indirect control over the European Patent Office (EPO), which is supposed to eject him with a proposal for replacement already formally prepared for publication



  19. European Patent Office (EPO) Whistleblowing Guidelines

    The first part of a series which offers tips for sending us material/evidence, specifically from the European Patent Office (EPO)



  20. General Consultative Committee of the EPO Warns About Battistelli's Plans

    The General Consultative Committee (GCC) issues a long document (176 pages) which explains to the overseer of the Office how internal rule changes make things even worse



  21. Links 16/6/2017: New Atom Release, Firefox 55 Beta

    Links for the day



  22. Leaked: European Patent Office Still Uses Microsoft Windows XP... in 2017

    The EPO continues to rely on inherently insecure (by design) platforms and Mr. Kraft, Battistelli's CIO, bragged that the actions of the Office "prevented any damage to the EPO and its reputation"



  23. Unitary Patent (UPC) Will Start “Real Soon” Now... Said Team UPC For So Many Years

    The Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) is going nowhere fast, but those who spent time and money promoting it for self gain continue to lie to the press with overly optimistic predictions, unrealistic timelines, and Kool-Aid about the supposed 'benefits' of the Unified Patent Court (UPC)



  24. EPO Management Wastes Millions of Euros on a Silly, Gratuitous, Self-Serving Festival While EPO Staff is Planning Another Strike

    Unrest at the European Patent Office (EPO) is growing again, with plans of a strike resulting in a formal vote for a strike next week



  25. Links 15/6/2017: Mir 0.26.3, FreeNAS 11.0

    Links for the day



  26. Software Patents in Europe Are Still Promoted by the EPO, Even in Defiance of the Ban

    The European Patent Office continues to ignore the directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, which had software patents disallowed with an overwhelming majority of 648 to 14 votes at the European Parliament



  27. Leaked: Job Advertisement for Removing Battistelli From the European Patent Office

    In spite of rumours that Benoît Battistelli would pursue elongation of his term, in clear defiance of the rules (again), paperwork is being put forth to replace him



  28. Links 14/6/2017: New BlackArch Linux ISO and Q4OS 1.8.6, Orion

    Links for the day



  29. Even UPC Proponents, Paid by the EPO's PR Firm, Admit That UPC May Never Happen

    Speculations are being floated regarding the cause of the impasse, which is going to result in a very long period of uncertainty and possibly the collapse of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) as it was envisioned by Michel Barnier, Benoît Battistelli and other opportunists



  30. Caricature: Balance of Justice at the European Patent Office

    Balance of justice under Battistelli's regime isn't quite what the Office wants the public and the Dutch authorities to believe


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts