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Future of Open Source patents uncertain

by on12 January 2011

Proprietary deal falls through
A cunning plan by the big names in proprietary software to snap up Novell's patents has fallen through leaving the future of the patents in doubt.

Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and EMC had planned to create a consortium to acquire hundreds of Novell patents but now they have decided not to press ahead with it as it could get them into all sorts of anti-trust hotwater. CPTN Holdings was to jointly acquire 882 Novell patents for $442 million. The rest of Novell was to be sold to Attachmate for $2.2 billion, with that sale being conditioned upon the closing of the proposed sale of certain intellectual property assets to CPTN Holdings.

Now it seems that the deal has been voluntarily withdrawn, with no information available to explain why. Open source advocates, with both the American Open Source Initiative (OSI) and the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) filed complaints about the plans with the German Federal Cartel Office.

It is not clear what will happen to the patents now and there are rumours that an open source collective might attempt to buy them.
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