Microsoft purchasing 882 Novell patents

Attachmate's planned acquisition of Novell will allow it to work with vendors such as IBM and Microsoft

CPTN Holdings LLC, a consortium of technology companies organized by Microsoft, is purchasing 882 Novell patents for US$450 million cash, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing submitted Monday by Novell.

The deal is part of the Attachmate acquisition of Novell, also announced Monday, and expected to close in the first quarter of next year. In the original announcement, Novell stated only that CPTN would acquire "certain intellectual property assets."

In a Form 8-K filing with the SEC, Novell stated that in the patent purchase agreement "Novell will sell to CPTN all of Novell's right, title and interest in 882 patents ... for $450 million in cash."

A quick look through the U.S. Patent Office database finds 461 patents that listed Novell under the assignee name.

Microsoft declined to comment beyond sending out a statement from the company's general counsel. "We are pleased to be a part of the acquisition of certain intellectual property assets of Novell. Microsoft looks forward to continuing our collaboration with Novell into the future, to bring mixed source IT solutions to customers," said Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel.

It was not clear Monday which other technology companies are involved with CPTN Holdings. A limited liability corporation of that name was formed in Delaware on Nov. 4, according to a search of the state's website, but few other details were immediately available. A similar search on the website of Microsoft's home state of Washington turned up no results.

Also not clear is Microsoft's interest in these patents. In 2004, Novell hit Microsoft with an antitrust lawsuit, alleging that Microsoft tried to squelch competition in the office-productivity-applications market during the time that Novell owned WordPerfect, which is now owned by Corel.

The patents that would be acquired by CPTN in Attachmate's purchase of Novell probably wouldn't have that much bearing on the antitrust case, though, noted Charles King, Pund-IT's president and principal analyst of the Pund-IT analysis firm.

Another possible area of interest for Microsoft would be the IP around Unix held by Novell. In March, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah confirmed that Novell owned the copyrights around Unix, ending a seven-year battle between SCO and Novell over ownership rights.

Microsoft has asserted in the past that it owns some of the intellectual property in the Linux kernel, an open-source version of the Unix kernel. In 2006, Novell struck a five-year agreement with Microsoft in which Microsoft agreed not to assert patent rights for any technology it may posses that would be in Novell's SUSE Linux distribution.

The deal "was controversial in the open-source community because Microsoft was less than transparent about where the actual IP infringements were," King said. The two companies also agreed to develop technologies that would help Unix and Microsoft Windows computers interoperate more smoothly.

Attachmate will continue to manage Suse Linux as a stand-alone separate business.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags unixbusiness issuesopen sourceLinuxattachmateMicrosoftsoftwarenon-Windowsoperating systemsnovell

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?