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  2. <html newsdate="2011-04-12">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>
  5. Novell's patent sale: FSFE's input to competition authorities
  6. </title>
  7. </head>
  8. <body>
  9. <h1>
  10. Novell's patent sale: FSFE's input to competion authorities
  11. </h1>
  12. <p newsteaser="yes">
  13. On April 6, FSFE provided the German competition authorities with its
  14. <a href="http://fsfe.org/campaigns/swpat/letter-20110406.en.html">views
  15. on the sale of Novell's patents</a> to CPTN, a joint venture of
  16. Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle. According to the German authorities,
  17. the terms of the sale have been slightly modified since
  18. we <a href="http://fsfe.org/campaigns/swpat/letter-20101222.en.html">registered
  19. our concerns</a> with them on December 22, 2010.<br/>
  20. Despite these modifications, the transfer of a substantial number of
  21. patents to firms with a history of using them against Free Software
  22. remains a worrying prospect. Both documents are available on our
  23. <a href="http://fsfe.org/campaigns/swpat/novell-cptn.en.html">overview
  24. page</a> for the case.
  25. </p>
  26. <p>
  27. In our reply , we make clear that this modification does not allay our
  28. concerns that Novell's patents may be used to limit competition. There
  29. are several reasons to be worried, notably:
  30. <ul>
  31. <li>
  32. access to more patents will increase the respective dominant
  33. positions of the CPTN investors;
  34. </li>
  35. <li>
  36. What will Attachmate do with those patents? The company does not
  37. have an established track record in Free Software, and there is
  38. nothing to keep Attachmate from either selling the patents on to a
  39. third party, or trying to turn litigation into a revenue
  40. driver. Could Attachmate become a second SCO?
  41. </li>
  42. <li>
  43. Any financial relationship between Attachmate and Microsoft needs
  44. to be clarified.
  45. </li>
  46. </ul>
  47. </p>
  48. <p>
  49. As a remedy, we propose that the Novell patents which CPTN is seeking
  50. to acquire should be made available under conditions that allow
  51. implementation in Free Software, including under the GPL. This would
  52. be a royalty-free, perpetual license. Their owners could still enforce
  53. the patents against proprietary implementations. But there would be no
  54. further danger that they would be used to limit competition from Free
  55. Software.
  56. </p>
  57. </body>
  58. <tags>
  59. <tag>front-page</tag>
  60. </tags>
  61. </html>
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