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. Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

    Links for the day



  2. The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

    The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one



  3. Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

    Cherry-picking one's way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation



  4. As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

    Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China's massive patent bubble, and Singapore's implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)



  5. Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

    Links for the day



  6. Bad Advice From Mintz Levin and Bejin Bieneman PLC Would Have People Believe That Software Patents Are Still Worth Pursuing

    The latest examples of misleading articles which, in spite of the avalanche of software patents in the United States, continue to promote these



  7. Patents Are Not Property, They Are a Monopoly, and They Are Not Owned But Temporarily Granted

    Patent maximalism and distortion of concepts associated with patents tackled again, for terminology is being hijacked by those who turned patents into their "milking cows"



  8. SoftBank Group, New Owner of ARM, Could Potentially Become (in Part) a Patent Troll or an Aggressor Like Qualcomm

    SoftBank grabbed headlines (in the West at least) when it bought ARM, but will it soon grab headlines for going after practicing companies using a bunch of patents that it got from Inventergy, ARM, and beyond?



  9. Technicolor, Having Turned Into a Patent Troll, Attacks Android/Tizen/Linux With Patents in Europe

    Technicolor, which a lot of the media portrayed as a patent troll in previous years (especially after it had sued Apple, HTC and Samsung), is now taking action against Samsung in Europe (Paris, Dusseldorf and Mannheim)



  10. Michelle Lee is Still “in Charge” of the US Patent System

    Contrary to a malicious whispering campaign against Lee (a coup attempt, courtesy of patent maximalists who make a living from mass litigation), she is still in charge of the USPTO



  11. Our Assessment: EPO Wants a Lot of Low-Quality Patents and Low-Paid Staff With UPC (Prosecution Galore)

    The European Patent Office seems to be less interested in examination and more interested in facilitating overzealous prosecution all across Europe and beyond; The Administrative Council has shown no signs that it is interested in profound changes, except those proposed by Battistelli in the face of growing resistance from staff and from ordinary stakeholders



  12. Links 16/2/2017: HITMAN for GNU/Linux, Go 1.8

    Links for the day



  13. Yet More Complaints About the European Patent Office in the Bavarian Regional Government

    Some German politicians do care about the welfare of EPO staff, a lot more so than the EPO's management that is actively crushing this staff



  14. EPO Staff Representatives to Escalate Complaint About Severe Injustices to the EPO's Secretive Board 28

    In a new letter to President Benoît Battistelli it is made abundantly apparent -- however politely -- that Battistelli's gross abuses could further complicate things for Battistelli, who is already embroiled in a fight with his predecessor, Roland Grossenbacher



  15. New Survey Reveals That High Patent Quality, or Elimination of Bad Patents, is Desirable to Patent Holders

    A new survey from Bloomberg BNA and AIPLA reveals that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which still grows in prominence, is supported by people who have themselves gotten patents (not those who are in the bureaucracy of patents and self-serving politics)



  16. Open Patent Office is Not the Solution; Ending Software Patents is the Solution

    Our remarks about the goals and methods of the newly-established Open Patent Office and what is instead needed in order to combat the menace that threatens software development



  17. New Scholarly Paper Says “UK’s Withdrawal From the EU Could Mean That the Entire (Unitary Patent) System Will Not Go Into Effect”

    A paper from academics -- not from the patent microcosm (for a change) -- provides a more sobering interpretation, suggesting quite rightly that the UPC can't happen in the UK (or in Europe), or simply not endure if some front groups such as CIPA somehow managed to bamboozle politicians into it (ratification in haste, before the facts are known)



  18. Patent Trolls Update: Rodney Gilstrap Maintains His Support for Trolls, MPEG-LA Goes Hunting in China, and Blackberry Hits Nokia

    A roundup of the latest news about patent trolls and what they are up to in the United States, Europe, and Asia



  19. Guest Post: EPO, an Idyllic Place to Work

    The true face of the EPO as explained by an insider, recalling the history that led to the negative image and toxic work atmosphere



  20. Links 15/2/2017: Linux 4.9.10 and Linux 4.4.49

    Links for the day



  21. Claude Rouiller (ILOAT) and ILO Rulings Effectively Disregarded by the European Patent Office

    The compositions of kangaroo courts at the EPO continue to be absurd, in spite of a ruling from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which insisted that change must be made following a lot of mistrials



  22. National Law Journal Believes That Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice Would be Opponent of Patent Reform

    Whispering campaign surrounds Neil Gorsuch's alleged or perceived views on patents, and in particular the America Invents Act (AIA) which brought the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), a serial invalidator of software patents, owing to Alice (a Supreme Court decision)



  23. Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU) is a Lobby Group for Software Patents and Patent Maximalism

    An introduction to what the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding really is, what it is for, and who is behind it



  24. The European Patent Office Looks More and More Like the Sicilian Mafia Every Day

    Battistelli has constructed or pulled together a Mafia-like family inside the EPO, where all those who protect the 'King' (or Don) are rewarded and the rest are removed with prejudice



  25. EPO-Connected Writers Are Using Alternative Facts or Fake News to Promote the Unitary Patent in British Media

    The misuse of publications for the purpose of lobbying by Battistelli and Team UPC (a small group of opportunists looking to exploit change that they themselves introduce) is worth noting, for its frequency is on the rise again



  26. Microsoft Has Not Managed to Blackmail Huawei Over Android and GNU/Linux, But Its Trolls/Satellites Are Trying

    The story of Huawei gets more complicated, even though software patents are losing their teeth and notorious patent trolls are altogether losing their patents



  27. IBM Has Become an Enemy of GNU/Linux and a Loud Proponent of Software Patents

    IBM's poisonous policy on patents, which has long been incompatible with Free/Libre software, has gotten even worse and the company now takes the lead in lobbying for patenting of software



  28. Leaked: European Patent Office a Fire Hazard Waiting to Cause Tragedy (Possible Deaths)

    The EPO has known for a while that is was not in compliance with regulations, but as usual -- flaunting immunity and impunity -- nothing happened



  29. For Valentine's Day, Battistelli Learns to Stop Worrying and Love to Lie

    Battistelli lies about patent quality once again, incidentally on the very same day that serious leaks regarding patent quality got published (and need distracting from)



  30. India Cites Public Interest in Patent Case Where Embargo Attempted Against Local Drugmaker

    India turns away a foreign corporation that attempts to use patents to shut down (or destroy the business model of) an Indian company


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