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Microsoft Novell Patents Your Rights Online

OSI Refers Novell Patent Deal To Authorities 88

Posted by samzenpus
from the naming-names dept.
WebMink writes "Worried that the unholy alliance of Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and EMC — hardly known for their collaboration — is establishing a patent troll called CPTN to attack open source software, the Open Source Initiative has announced that they have referred the Novell deal over to the German competition authorities."
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OSI Refers Novell Patent Deal To Authorities

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  • What can the German court do?

    • Re:In Germany? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by flyingfsck (986395) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @02:32AM (#34707822)
      Give them crap in all of Europe? Note that the world is rather larger than the USA...
    • by Fizzl (209397)

      Are you implying some other countries court could do more?
      File it in US and watch it unfurl in a torrent of doldrums in a matter of decades!

      Or perhaps they just saw that they may be breaking German law in particular, I dunno...

    • Suse is a german company - so it can stop the sale of Suse.

      • by houghi (78078)

        SUSE is not a company anymore. It is a trademark.

        • by Sique (173459)

          SuSE Linux GmbH is still a company, and it is not part of Novell Germany, but a separate corporate entity, while wholly owned by Novell Corp.

    • Re:In Germany? (Score:4, Informative)

      by guyminuslife (1349809) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:58AM (#34708108)

      Drag the entire EU with it? If you're going to try to get a government to investigate this stuff, the German government is probably the best place to start. One, because US courts, even if they could, aren't going to do shit. Two, because Germany, besides being an important and relatively large country in its own right, really is the big dog in the EU.

    • Re:In Germany? (Score:4, Informative)

      by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @07:36AM (#34709034)

      What can the German court do?

      It seems that the company that Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle formed to buy these patents is registered in Germany.

    • The company is registered in Germany and every business partner does business there too. So the question then becomes is CPTN or it's principals doing anything illegal there? That I don't know. But after investigating CPTN and this transaction if they decide there is a basis then charges can be filed in court.

      Falcon

  • So it begins. OSI is here, and soon Apple, Oracle, etc will merge with many others to form The Guild of Calamitous Intent. So where do I sign up? I wanna arch Richard Stallman!
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      So it begins. OSI is here, and soon Apple, Oracle, etc will merge with many others to form The Guild of Calamitous Intent. So where do I sign up? I wanna arch Richard Stallman!

      And thus the final battle over the very existence of software patents began (!?)

      • Now that should have been the plot of the new Tron.

        • I thought both films were about the ideal of a free, flexible and open computer system versus the ideal of a totalitarian, inflexible and closed computer system.

          So, this is what both Tron films were about. Apple, Microsoft and Oracle (corporations) play the role of CLU/MCP and we the individuals of the world (human beings) play the role of the relatively powerless programs that die on the grid as punishment for defiance (a metaphor for what happens when an individual attempts to confront a corporation in
          • by russotto (537200)

            I thought both films were about the ideal of a free, flexible and open computer system versus the ideal of a totalitarian, inflexible and closed computer system.

            Certainly the second one was; they even used the old "Information wants to be free" line. Of course there's an irony in Disney putting out such a film, but corporations don't mind being hypocritical if it makes them the money.

  • Ahem. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @02:38AM (#34707850)

    "...is establishing a patent troll called CPTN to attack open source software..."

    As they say in the fact verification industry, [citation needed].

    • Re:Ahem. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:07AM (#34707942) Homepage Journal

      The summary does not state that this is what the listed companies are doing; it states that this is what OSI is worried they're doing. It's a small but critical difference. And the linked OSI statement explains quite succinctly why they're worried about this.

      You can quote anything out of context to make it sound ridiculous.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        The summary does not state that this is what the listed companies are doing; it states that this is what OSI is worried they're doing. It's a small but critical difference. And the linked OSI statement explains quite succinctly why they're worried about this.

        Except that it doesn't state any actual basis for worrying that the group would be used to "attack open source." And even then, that is not said in the linked article, you have to link back to the original statement from OSI to read anything about that - which raises the question; why did slashdot link to an intermediary, rather than the statement itself?

        • Except that it doesn't state any actual basis for worrying that the group would be used to "attack open source."

          A lack which hopefully will be rectified by the time the complaint is heard by the German competition authorities.

          Bizarre as it may seem, I don't think the OSI are in any way obliged to submit their legal arguments to Slashdot in advance of a hearing.

    • "...is establishing a patent troll called CPTN to attack open source software..."

      As they say in the fact verification industry, [citation needed].

      And as we say in the conveniently truncated quotation industry - try again, troll.

  • They were afraid of filesharers, so they started suing them, with predictable results.

    Clearly "they" are now very afraid of open source--so we must be doing something right.

    And I don't think they can win this battle, either.  If nothing else, have you noticed how common heterogeneous environments have become in the corporate world?  Nice job, my droogies!
    • What these type of agreements allow are for companies to get one license to use a number of patents. Generally companies contributing to the pool may get free access or cheaper access, but for companies not in the pool it allows you to buy a single license and continue about your business. It makes innovation and development of new products easier. The only pool I've every used is the H.264 pool from H.264. If we had to go through and license all those patents it would have been nearly impossible for a

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Apple did not create webkit, webkit is a derivative of KHTML.

      • It makes innovation and development of new products easier.

        Patent pools are not needed for that. Abolishing patents will do more to spur innovation, research, and development.

        Falcon

    • They were afraid of filesharers, so they started suing them, with predictable results. Clearly "they" are now very afraid of open source--so we must be doing something right.

      So "you" sue "them" because that's what "they" do?

  • by masdog (794316) <masdog@@@gmail...com> on Thursday December 30, 2010 @02:44AM (#34707874)
    IANAL, but seeing as how the CPTN combines the patent portfolios four of the largest and most litigious technology firms and appears to exist to exclude certain competition from the market by using intellectual property, couldn't they be charged with a Section 1 violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act for operating as a cartel?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's adorably naive.

      In America, the Sherman Antitrust Act is a legal artifact, like "Common Law" and sodomy legislation. While technically still legal precedent, ever since the second revolutionary war(the invisible one) America has all but stopped enforcing such barbaric refuges of bigotry(anti-corporate discrimination).

      I for one welcome our new corporate overlords.

      • by Psychotria (953670) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:09AM (#34707950)

        That's adorably naive.

        In America, the Sherman Antitrust Act is a legal artifact, like "Common Law" and sodomy legislation. While technically still legal precedent, ever since the second revolutionary war(the invisible one) America has all but stopped enforcing such barbaric refuges of bigotry(anti-corporate discrimination).

        I for one welcome our new corporate overlords.

        I, for one, do not welcome them. And I think you might not either if you have your wish -- your comment is adorably naive. These corporate overlords do not care about personal loss or gain. They do not care about the environment. They do not care about humanity. They do not care about learning nor innovation. They do not care about you. The only thing they care about is their bottom line, extracting fortune and knowledge from the "commoners", stifling innovation, controlling what you think, and controlling how and where you spend your money. I, for one, eagerly anticipate the downfall of the United States of America not because I hate the people but because the people no long have freedom -- you have given it away to a government that is controlled by your corporate overlords and no longer cares about the people. Fortunately the economy of the USA seems to be supporting freedom indirectly by slowly and agonisingly collapsing. Keep your corporate overlords.

      • by masdog (794316) <masdog@@@gmail...com> on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:17AM (#34707984)
        Poe's Law for the win.
      • by protektor (63514)

        Well I would say that Microsoft would disagree with you to a certain extent. They were convicted of being a monopoly but managed to lobby, buy, campaign contributions their way out of a serious punishment but they were indeed convicted of being a monopoly and illegally leveraging that. So I would say the anti-trust act is still used, but some of the teeth may have been removed by the political process.

    • by emaname (1014225)
      Not with more Republican influence entering the Washington mix.

      BTW, I used to consider myself a Republican. Now I refer to myself as an independent conservative. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are owned. They will do whatever their corporate masters tell them to do. That's how the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed and that worked out really well (eg, banks merging with insurance companies and investment houses).

      We can forget about any chance of any anti-trust action ever happening again.
    • IANAL, but seeing as how the CPTN combines the patent portfolios four of the largest and most litigious technology firms and appears to exist to exclude certain competition from the market by using intellectual property, couldn't they be charged with a Section 1 violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act for operating as a cartel?

      They can't, because apparently CPTN is a German company. Your idea that this company was set up to hurt Google is at this point pure supposition. At this time it is just as likely that we have here four companies who thought it would be cheaper to pay $450 million for a lot of patents, just $112.5 million each, rather than letting them fall into the hands of a patent troll who immediately runs to their favourite court in texas.

      Since Novell was a company that was actually doing business, there is a good c

      • by masdog (794316)

        You're right. It is pure supposition that CPTN would be set up to hurt Google. However, three of the four companies that are behind CPTN are engaged in lawsuits with Google or Google partners over Android.

        However, the certain competition I was referring to was Linux and other open-source software like Postgres that competes directly with their product offerings.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:33AM (#34708036) Journal

    IBM (yes they are a big patent troll) and Google have a large vested interest in open source software.

    I can only imagine the deal with Sun and Oracle has already made IBM very nervous. It would bug me if I worked for them.

    The second they start suing and filing injunctions to force us to buy their products you can bet they will fight back. Not to mention Mark Shuttleworth has invested hundreds of millions in Ubuntu and other products which would be killed by such an onslaught. He would probably contribute to such a cause and fight as well. It would be a legal war equivalent to World War I to say the least in the industry.

    It would be very ineffective for the big boys to wage. Sure they would convince many fortunate 500 companies for an anti-gnu clauses but many would fight back. The extra revenue for those who are fall to the sight of lawyers will be much smaller than the legal costs to fight IBM, Google, Redhat, Rackspace, and whoever else all combined.

    • Please explain: Precisely how are IBM a big patent troll?
      • Precisely because everybody, in this world and out need a patent agreement with IBM (that means giving them a percentage of your income, and free access to all of your patents) just because IBM has a generic patent that the Nazgul can convince a court that covers your work. On nearly on any high tech field, except from, maybe, software, where they don't seem to enforce that rule.

        They are a patent troll, and a very sucessfull one.

        • The problem with calling them a troll is that IBM actually carry out a significant amount of research, and also create products based on their research. IBM is behind real research that have created significant parts of what has made the IT industry successfull (like hard disks).
          The fact that you will have to license patents from them is a just because they have made actual inventions, not because they have patented a lot of silly ideas, as many of the companies that caused the term to be creatred have don
          • Yep, they've made a lot of usefull inventions. They also have a lot of doubtfull patents that they use to troll busines that don't use their inventions. They half-fit the definition...

  • and the other hairy guys. i remember how their witnessing/expert opinion (if i remember a linux trial) was instrumental in turning the case over long ago. they had had talked so down to earth, in so easy understandable terms that, jury had started their verdict with 'the hairy guys are right' and went on to deliver a blow to patent trolls.
  • I don't want to criticize on the US, but really, software patents are stupid as they are right now.

    What pisses me off the most, is that as with pushing your so call "democracy" your government also tries to influence other countries into accepting this stupid IP laws (Fuck ACTA!), with the corporate giants kicking its ass into it. You have your laws, fine with it, leave other sovereign states handle their own and don't do the dirty job of your industry and for free.

    • by Lanteran (1883836)
      You say that as if most citizens support this kind of shit. Just FYI, we have a rogue government.
  • They worked together so well to kill avoiding per-font royalty payments.
  • Apple uses and contributes to Open Source software regularly. Many major components of Mac OS x and iOS are derived from open source. I seriously doubt that they are going to attack open source development. But, in this age of patent lawsuit, salvaging proprietary patents from defunct companies is just a part of doing business.
    • by guruevi (827432)

      That's what I was thinking too. EMC, Apple and Oracle/Sun all rely somehow on open source components for their OS or major components of it. I think the common thread is that they're all commonly sued by the likes of Paul Allen, Acacia and the Constellation group as well as companies that are going down and in last hopes try to monetize their patent base (Motorola, RIM, Nokia, SCO) and they need to use their own heaps of patents to defend against it. By combining these patents and signing a deal not to sue

  • This would never happen if Oscar Goldman was still in charge.
  • The statement that OSI sent to the German authorities should also go to the US Justice Department Antitrust Division and to the Federal Trade Commission. The placement of OSS-relevant patents in the hands of OSS opponents creates a serious concern.

  • Authoritarian Governance is totalitarian, which is draconian.

    Governance by US, EU, RU, CN citizens is democracy.

    Governance of citizens is tyranny in the US, EU, RU, CN.

    Governance of the many by the few (aristocracy, politicians, clergy) is plutocratic tyranny.

    Governance of the many by institutions (C*Os, congress, RIAA) is oligarchic despotism.

    The difference grows ever dimmer between US, EU, RU, CN governance.

    Before the time of the next plutocratic or oligarchic dark-ages, one great thing is my old ass will

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