Department Of Justice Limits CPTN's Ability To Buy Novell Patents

The US Department of Justice has forced Microsoft-led CPTN Holdings to alter the terms of acquisition for purchasing 882 Novell patents.

Fearing a negative impact on open source technology, the DoJ has asked CPTN Holdings to license some of the Novell patents instead of purchasing them. The DoJ also ordered the company to purchase the patents under the GNU General Public License and the Open Invention Network License.

The DoJ worked closely with Germany’s Federal Cartel Office in limiting CPTN Holding's control over Novell’s patents.

CPTN Holdings, which is equally owned by Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle, is set up acquire 882 Novell patents that were auctioned off as a part of a $2.2 billion acquisition bid by Attachemate. CPTN Holdings planned to pay $450 million for acquiring the patents.

“The parties’ actions address the immediate competitive concerns resulting from the transfer of Novell’s patents. To promote innovation and competition, it is critical to balance antitrust enforcement with allowing appropriate patent transfers and exercise of patent rights,” said Sharis A. Pozen, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

“Although we recognize that the various changes to the agreement recently made by the parties are helpful, the department will continue to investigate the distribution of patents to ensure continued competition,” he added.