"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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