Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell Keeps Lusting After Software Patents, Microsoft Sued for Patent Infringement

Why does Novell keep pursuing software patents?

Method to dynamically determine a user's language for a network, patent No. 7,412,374, invented by Christopher Jean Seiler of Pleasant Grove, Matthew Gerrit Brooks of Orem, Olin Sayre Atkinson of Orem, James Mark Norman of Pleasant Grove, Boyd "H" Timothy of Provo, and Timothy Paul Schmanski of Lindon, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.


Here is the patent's abstract:

A portal system identifies a language in which content can be displayed to the user. Possible languages can be determined from one or more of identity information for the user, a container for the user's directory entry, and the user's location. The determined languages can be ranked, and the highest-ranked available language can be selected for content display to the user.

[...]

Filed: January 30, 2002


Well, it was granted only days ago.

There are those who believe that Microsoft wanted to capture Novell for its patents portfolio, which can be used against UNIX/Linux 'outsiders'. What if Microsoft bought Novell?

Elsewhere in the news, it turns out that Microsoft's new addition has just been sued. It's about patents again.

Datallegro, a data warehouse maker in the midst of being acquired by Microsoft, has received a lawsuit, claiming that Datallegro's current CEO aided the company in infringing on a key patent.


The company which Microsoft acquires here uses GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software extensively. Here are the details:

Perhaps the most interesting is that DATAllegro doesn't even support SQL Server at the moment. It was built on Ingres and Linux. Microsoft claims that it selected DATAllegro because its architecture is "open" and therefore easiest to port to SQL. But it certainly seems that by selecting an MPP player proven to scale beyond the capacity of the competitors (and one built on Linux no less) Microsoft has snipped the head off a competitor while filling in a hole in its offerings for SQL Server 2008.


The Microsoft-obedient (or "talking heads") have some coverage of this too:



The role of patents in the Novell/Microsoft deal remains a mysterious one. There are no specifics being disclosed.

Ron Hovsepian and Steve Ballmer

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