Almunia went on, "Furthermore, in addition to the consideration under the Merger Regulation, the Commission has currently no indication that the mere acquisition of the patents in question by CPTN Holdings would lead to an infringement of EU competition rules."
That doesn't mean that the CPTN deal will have clear legal sailing in Europe. Once CPTN reapplies to buy Novell's patents, we can expect to see the Open Source Initiative and Free Software Foundation Europe to renew their protests against the deal to the German Federal Cartel Office. It does suggest that the EC is not going to start any actions to further investigate or hinder the deal.
Thanks to a January 14 filing with the U.S.' Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), we now know a little more about the patents that Novell is attempting to sell to CPTN. The bulk of them, which now appears to number 861 once outdated and duplicate patents were removed from the pool, are concerned with server management, security, identity and collaboration software.
CPTN may yet face some competition for the patents though. A close reading by Pamela Jones of Groklaw of Novell's Definitive Proxy Statement reveals that a group or company designated as Party E, which is neither Microsoft not CPTN, is still interested in purchasing some of Novell's intellectual property. According to the filing, "On January 13, 2011, a representative of Party E clarified that their interest is in a transaction related to an acquisition of the patents and patent applications being sold pursuant to the Patent Purchase Agreement, 'and maybe more.'"
So, who knows, Microsoft and chums may still not end up with Novell's patents. Stay tuned patent deal watchers; this transaction is far from done.