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02.05.11

Free Software Foundation’s Statement on Microsoft/Novell/CPTN Patent Attack Against Software Freedom

Posted in FSF, Microsoft, Patents at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stallman at protest
Hartmut Pilch (FFII founder) and Richard Stallman (FSF founder)

Summary: Novell’s despicable ammunition gift to Microsoft is challenged by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FSF issues a statement on the subject

HERE are some of our recent posts about CPTN, which is part of Microsoft’s anti-Linux strategy judging by common sense.

Yesterday we wrote about intervention from the DoJ and now there is a statement from the Free Software Foundation (FSF). It starts as follow:

A couple of weeks ago, we posted the OSI and FSF’s joint position statement to the US Department of Justice about Novell’s proposal to sell its patents to the newly-formed CPTN Holdings. Yesterday we learned that the DOJ has sent a “Second Letter” to both companies, asking them to provide more information about the deal.

For future reference, the statement from Brett Smith is added below in full.


US Department of Justice Investigating Novell/CPTN Deal Further

A couple of weeks ago, we posted the OSI and FSF’s joint position statement to the US Department of Justice about Novell’s proposal to sell its patents to the newly-formed CPTN Holdings. Yesterday we learned that the DOJ has sent a “Second Letter” to both companies, asking them to provide more information about the deal.

We’re heartened to see that the DOJ is taking this issue seriously. When proprietary software companies attack free software with patents, that can be anticompetitive activity. The DOJ is right to investigate and ensure that won’t be a problem with this deal, and they’re setting good precedent for investigating future acquisitions.

CPTN Holdings was formed jointly by Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and EMC for the express purpose of buying Novell’s patents. We’re very concerned that CPTN Holdings will attack free software with those patents. That’s the simplest explanation for why these competitors cooperated for this one specific acquisition. We expect the DOJ to get complete answers about CPTN’s intentions before they approve any sale. Their follow-up letter represents the first step in that process.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 license (or later version)

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