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About Those 882 Novell Patents: This is Where OIN Comes In

Dec 08, 2010, 15:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Pamela Jones)

"I have some important news for you. It's about those 882 Novell patents that are being sold to a Microsoft-organized consortium in connection with the sale of Novell to Attachmate. I've been worrying about those patents, and I was wondering what happens to Novell's license to the Open Invention Network after the sale. So I took the time to find out. And it's very good news.

"Here's how it works. The patents of OIN members are licensed to each other royalty-free in perpetuity. Even on a sale, the license remains in force for all pre-existing members. If you are a member of OIN prior to the closing on the Novell deal, then, you are covered. The proposed closing date is January 23rd, so you still have time to join OIN and get the benefit of the license to those patents. Then, if Microsoft shows up at your door, you can say, "Thanks, but no thanks. I already have a license." So here's what it all adds up to, by my reading: if ever you were thinking of joining the Open Invention Network, this is the sensible time to do it, as long as you get it done before this sale closes and that door shuts with respect to the Novell patents.

"One can't assume that the Microsoft consortium has evil plans for these patents, but on the other hand, consider who we are talking about. Novell's license to OIN members can't be revoked, even on the sale, so what's the down side? Looking at it the other way, anyone who is not a member prior to the sale closing, even if it were to join OIN later, will have to deal with the Microsoft consortium regarding those patents."

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