Novell shares more specifics on patents it is selling to Microsoft, Apple

According to a January 14 filing with the Security and Exchange Commission, Novell is selling off 800-plus of its management, security, identity and collaboration software patents to a consortium of tech companies, including Microsoft.

According to a January 14 filing with the Security and Exchange Commission, Novell is selling off 800-plus of its management, security, identity and collaboration software patents to a consortium of tech companies, including Microsoft.

Prior to this filing, the members of a group calling themselves CPTN Holdings declined to divulge what kinds of patents were among those it plans to buy from Novell as part of the deal involving Attachmate Corp.'s purchase of Novell.

CPTN Holdings is a Delaware company created by Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle. CPTN was organized by Microsoft, and is paying $450 million in cash for the Novell patents.

According to the new SEC proxy, the patents in question "relate to enterprise-level computer systems management software, enterprise-level file management and collaboration software in addition to patents relevant to our identity and security management business."

The proxy notes that "the patent sale does not require a vote of our stockholders, and our stockholders will not consider or vote on the patent sale at the special (shareholder) meeting" on February 17, which will focus on the pending Attachmate purchase of Novell.

PC World, which wrote about the new proxy filing on January 18, noted that CPTN members discovered there are some lapsed and duplicate patents in the original batch of 882 which the group planned to purchase. CPTN is proposing it purchase 861 patents plus be given additional issued patents and pending patents from Novell's portfolio to compensate for the miscount, PC World explained.

PC World also noted that about 43 percent of the patents in question are U.S.-issued patents. Another 30 percent are U.S. patent applications; 22 percent are patents issued in foreign countries; and 5 percent foreign patent applications.

In other CPTN-related news, EU antitrust authorities seemingly are unconvinced that the CPTN patent purchase requires further scrutiny, according to a January 18 blog post by Florian Mueller, founder of the FOSS Patents blog. The OSI and Free Software Foundation Europe have been advocating for EU German antitrust authorities to examine the proposed CPTN patent purchase.

Update: Groklaw discovered an interesting clause in the Novell proxy statement, which notes that an undisclosed "Party E" contacted Novell on January 11 about a possible interest in purchasing the abovementioned patents "and maybe more."

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