Novell patents' new owners include Apple, EMC, and Oracle -- not just Microsoft

Exactly what patents CPTN Holdings has acquired remains unclear

Apple, Oracle, and EMC are involved with CPTN Holdings, the Microsoft-led consortium that is purchasing 882 patents from Novell for $450 million, according to a Dec. 9 posting on the website of German antitrust authority Bundeskartellamt (the Federal Cartel Office).

News of the sale emerged last month when Novell announced it was being purchased by Attachmate for $2.2 billion.

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Little remains known about which patents CPTN Holdings will acquire, although speculation has run rampant in recent weeks. Many had also wondered which other companies were involved in the LLC, and the nature of their interest in the patents.

An Oracle spokeswoman declined comment. Apple and EMC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There seems little cause for immediate alarm, according to open-source advocate Florian Mueller, who flagged the Bundeskartellamt notice on his blog Thursday. "I don't have a crystal ball that would tell me what their business plan with those patents is, but those organizations have a track record and, very importantly, they have a reputation to protect," Mueller wrote. "They all want to enjoy excellent relations with software developers, and software developers expect large players to make reasonable and constructive use of whatever patents they own. I guess that's exactly what will happen in this case."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for the IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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