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 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

    Links for the day



  2. Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

    Links for the day



  3. Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

    Links for the day



  4. Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as 'Fakes'

    Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers



  5. How Bill Gates Continues to Pass Wealth From the Public to His Own Bank Account

    Having put a universal tax on many things (not just computers) and evaded tax using the classic 'charity' trick, Gates is now buying the media, the schools, politicians etc. and earns as much as 10 billion dollars per year while the public is taught that Gates is a giver, not a hoarder of the worst kind



  6. Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  8. Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

    Links for the day



  9. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  10. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  11. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  12. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  13. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  14. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  15. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  17. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  18. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  19. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  20. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  21. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  22. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  23. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  24. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  25. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  26. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  27. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  28. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  29. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  30. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court


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