Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
56,533
19,286



105857-novell_wordmark.jpg


Foss Patents reports that a joint venture company involving Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, and EMC has acquired 882 patents from Novell for a sum of $450 million. Novell is undergoing a transition as it has been acquired by software company Attachmate, and the patent sale is part of the acquisition deal.
Breaking news: Twitter user @VM_gville just pointed me to the website of the German federal antitrust authority ("Bundeskartellamt"), which discloses a merger (or more precisely, joint venture) notification filed a week ago (on 09 December 2010), according to which the four companies behind CPTN Holdings LLC -- the acquirer of 882 Novell patents -- are Microsoft, Apple, EMC, and Oracle. The product market in which the newly formed company plans to operate is defined as "patents".

Three weeks ago I already commented on the recent announcement of Attachmate acquiring Novell and the sale of 882 Novell patents, in exchange for $450 million, to CPTN Holdings LLC. At the time, the full list of CPTN Holdings LLC partners was not known. The entity was described as a "consortium organized by Microsoft."
Apple, which boasts an extensive patent portfolio of its own, has been looking to bolster its arsenal even further as several large blocks of intellectual property have come available in an increasingly litigious technology industry that has seen Apple rank as the most-sued tech company over the last several years. Apple is said to be one of a number of big players bidding to acquire Nortel patents estimated to be worth over $1 billion in total.

Article Link: Joint Venture Involving Apple and Microsoft Acquires Novell Patents For $450 Million
 

dashiel

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2003
876
0
whoa! i tell you the second decade of the 21st century is going to be a hell of a lot of fun; three tech giants duking it out, partners on some projects, adversaries on others. it's a little like 1984 we have always been at war with eurasia.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,397
12,514
Interesting. Nice seeing some companies cooperate instead of litigate. I wonder if they are pursuing Nortel patents as a group or individually.
 

AmTechFox

macrumors member
Jun 6, 2010
39
0
Is there anyone on here who can break it down simply why America in particular has major headaches when it comes to patents? Why do so many fight it out.

It sounds to me patents are more like 'hear say' and if anything remotely close but not actually it is enough for companies to go to court?


Cheers.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,952
1,357
Washington DC
Interesting. Is this Apple admitting that they're not threatened by Microsoft's mobile phones? That they're happy to share them with MS as long as Google and RIM don't get them?

Or am I reading too much into this?
 

toromac

macrumors member
Jun 22, 2008
40
3
good news for competition

I see this as good news for competition. Now Nokia, etc can focus on making better products and not on trying to destroy competition through lawsuits. In the end, this is good for consumers, hopefully meaning better products at better prices.
 

GQB

macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2007
1,196
109
Is there anyone on here who can break it down simply why America in particular has major headaches when it comes to patents? Why do so many fight it out.

Because in America, capitalism isn't an economic system... its a blood sport.
 

JTVPRO

macrumors member
Feb 22, 2005
42
0
Salt Lake City
Novell

What does this mean to Novell? Are they done?

I haven't used their product for years, but they do have a big presence where I live. It would be bad to see it effect the city work force.
Adobe is building a facility in the area maybe they can use some programers?

How do companies share patents? Do they all get sued for Patent infringement?
 

swarmster

macrumors 6502a
Jun 1, 2004
628
90
Interesting. Is this Apple admitting that they're not threatened by Microsoft's mobile phones? That they're happy to share them with MS as long as Google and RIM don't get them?

Or am I reading too much into this?

Novell didn't have anything to do with mobile phones. Most of their patents involve Unix, office productivity, security, networking, and servers.
 

LagunaSol

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2003
4,798
0
Partnering with Microsoft never seems to be a good idea. Is Google now the common enemy for everyone?
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
90
An Island in the Salish Sea
..

How do companies share patents? Do they all get sued for Patent infringement?

Uninformed Conjecture: I think it means that they are all free to use the IP bought without fear of being sued by one of their partners. This is good for consumers because it encourages a the 4 to use the same technology for some things - almost a defacto standard.

Further, the consortium will have some sort of an admin section that will license the IP to others, and to sue other companies that are infringing on the patents. Proceeds from successful suits would likely either stay in the consortium to fund the admin work or be divvied up among the partners.

If I'm right, I see two things that will complicate things.

One: For example, Apple may have a patent that it feels is not part of the consortium's IP. If Microsoft starts to infringe on the Apple patent, and then claim it's part of the Novell package - so fair use - they will need a way to sort that out. Possibly the consortium's admin section includes a mediation function, and the partners have agreed to be bound by it's decisions. This would be a lot cheaper than settling things in Court.

Two: As an example, Apple may have been working collaboratively and cooperatively with an Open Source project. If the Open Source project is alleged to have infringed on the consortium's IP, then it will be the consortium that gets to play the heavy and demand the Open Source project stop the activity. Apple can look all sweet and innocent, can claim that the "cease and desist" letter has nothing to do with them.

It would be interesting to know more about the patent package, eh?
 

HLdan

macrumors 603
Aug 22, 2007
6,383
0
Interesting. Is this Apple admitting that they're not threatened by Microsoft's mobile phones? That they're happy to share them with MS as long as Google and RIM don't get them?

Or am I reading too much into this?

You may have this a bit backwards, it's definitely the other way around. I don't think Apple's ever felt threatened by companies that follow them and make cloned phones. :D
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,952
1,357
Washington DC
Novell didn't have anything to do with mobile phones. Most of their patents involve Unix, office productivity, security, networking, and servers.

I'm no computer genius but I feel like almost all of those could apply to either the iPad or the cloud infrastructure that will support iPads.

So put another way, does Apple feel that Android tablets are a threat but any kind of Windows-tablet is not?
 

savar

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2003
1,950
0
District of Columbia
How do companies share patents?

IANAL, but I'm confident that owning a share of a corporation does not entitle you to an equivalent share of the intellectual property. In other words, I can buy 1% of Apple's common stock but I don't own 1% of their IP as a result.

By default, none of the partner companies investing in the joint venture (JV) has rights to the underlying patents. I expect that the partners in the JV will sign (or already have signed) a cross-licensing agreement allowing them all to use the IP owned by the JV.

Do they all get sued for Patent infringement?

Patent infringement is caused by creating a product that uses intellectual property protected by a patent. This JV won't create any products, so it won't be liable for patent infringement.
 

blahblah100

macrumors 6502
Sep 10, 2009
272
30
Novell didn't have anything to do with mobile phones. Most of their patents involve Unix, office productivity, security, networking, and servers.

Agree. They are probably most interested in any patents related to eDirectory, as well as any patents related to Groupwise. I doubt Microsoft would be interested in any Unix patents, although Apple would be, and potentially EMC.
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,688
170
I'm no computer genius but I feel like almost all of those could apply to either the iPad or the cloud infrastructure that will support iPads.

So put another way, does Apple feel that Android tablets are a threat but any kind of Windows-tablet is not?

Apple and MS make money in totally different markets with very little overlap. Microsoft makes a lot of money on very big products that most people have never heard of
 

gnasher729

Suspended
Nov 25, 2005
17,980
5,560
Partnering with Microsoft never seems to be a good idea. Is Google now the common enemy for everyone?

Look at it like this: There were 882 patents on the market, and whoever bought them could have done any amount of mischief and caused all kinds of trouble for lots of people. Especially if it is a pure patent troll with no products of their own. With this purchase, it first means that Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle can never be sued for infringing on any of these patents - and if you look at the ridiculous sums that a lawsuit costs if you lose it, or even if you win it, these four might have considered it money well spent, even if they don't do anything with these patents. Being 1/4th part owner of these patents is as good as being complete owner in this respect.

Is Google threatened? There is of course ongoing litigation between Oracle and Google, which may be why Google isn't part of this deal. But starting litigation against Google would be expensive for everyone; Google can probably strike back in expensive ways.

With this precedent set, I could see the Nortel patents going to a similar consortium. And I can't see anyone outbidding Microsoft + Apple + EMC + Oracle combined. In that case, I think Apple would want to use the patents as a weapon against Nokia.

Ironic statement, considering Apple's history of screwing over their partners...

Could you give any examples of that?


One: For example, Apple may have a patent that it feels is not part of the consortium's IP. If Microsoft starts to infringe on the Apple patent, and then claim it's part of the Novell package - so fair use - they will need a way to sort that out.

It doesn't work that way. If you infringe on a patent, you infringe, even if you can point to another patent that seems to describe the same thing. For example, I can get a patent for a machine that does A, and you improve on my machine and create a machine that does A and B. If you build and sell that machine then you infringe on my patent (as long as the way it achieves A is covered by my patent).
 
Last edited:

0815

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2010
1,777
1,018
here and there but not over there
For example, Apple may have a patent that it feels is not part of the consortium's IP.

Don't think 'feeling' is involved in ownership of patents. The patent states who applied for it - that will show if it Apple applied for it or if it was from Novell. It is not the case that they now share all patents - only the ones they bought 'together' - you can be sure that it is very well document which patents those are.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.