One big detail that has been unclear since Attachmate's acquisition of Novell last month has been the destiny of the 882 patents that are set to be handed over to CPTN Holdings LLC--a consortium of technology companies that was organized by Microsoft.
Would Microsoft be getting all those patents, or would it have to share them with the other companies? More importantly--who are the other "technology companies" that make up the group?
While the first question remains unanswered, the second part of the equation is coming into view this morning, with blog FOSS Patents unearthing a merger filing that outs Apple, EMC, and Oracle as the other companies joining Microsoft. With a reader tip, FOSS Patents discovered the legal notification detailing the three other companies' involvement, which had been filed earlier this month on a German Federal Cartel Office Web site.
What these four companies intend to do with the patents once the paperwork is all done is a very large question mark. Mary Jo Foley over at ZDnet speculates that the ragtag bunch of technology competitors banding together has something to do with the antitrust case between Novell and Microsoft, as well as some of the virtualization patents that could help out EMC, the owners of VMware. How Apple and Oracle, fit into a split, or a possible cross-licensing deal of the 882 patents remains to be seen.
Novell was acquired in late November by Attachmate as part of a $2.2 billion deal. CPTN Holdings' involvement was $450 million in cash that made up a payment. Not included as part of the deal were some of Novell's Unix-related copyright, which will remain with with the company.