- (Temporary note: Novell is being bought by Attachmate and Microsoft's CPTN. 22 Nov 2010.)
Novell is a software company.
What patents does Novell own?
- (Note: This is of timely importance because in November 2010, Microsoft's CPTN, bought "certain intellectual property assets" from Novell for US$450 million.)
- (See also: CPTN Holdings LLC#What Novell patents did they buy?)
Some interesting networking patents can be found here: 
The Commerce One patents
In May 2005, Novell bought a set of patents from Commerce One for US$15.5 million. The set was described as:
The portfolio consists of three fundamental patents covering the basic technology of business-to-business electronic commerce as well as several other patents and a variety of patent applications, said Robert Glushko, one of the inventors.
(Can you help? What are the patent numbers? We could check if they're in OIN's list patents it owns.)
Does this weaken OIN?
Novell was a major contributor of patents to OIN. (Can you help? By membership, Novell promised patent safety to OIN licensees. By selling those patents to Microsoft, what happens to the safety that OIN licensees had?)
Patent deals with Microsoft
- (main article: Novell-Microsoft patent deals)
In 2006, when Microsoft was making vague threats about their patents being violated by distributors of GNU/Linux and other free software, Novell made a patents deal with Microsoft. This deal (for which Novell was paid US$348 million) made Novell a partner in Microsoft's patent threats against GNU/Linux. Microsoft's press release for the deal said that it offered customers a "version of [GNU/]Linux with patent coverage".
Mono and Moonlight
Novell is the employer of most or all developers of the Mono and Moonlight software which implements a Microsoft specification and is believed by many to be a patent risk.
Novell hasn't publicly supported either side in the debate, but in remaining silent, they stand out as the largest distributor of free software which doesn't support the campaigns against software patents.
During the EU software patents directive campaigning, they published one press release, a policy, and a statement but all were ambiguous and none of these made any recommendation to legislators about software patent policy. Instead, these documents focus on promoting Novell's image. The most substantial policy statement they made is:
We believe that the current system in the European Union has served the industry, the individual Member States and Novell well, and generally promotes innovation and competition in the industry. Accordingly, Novell does not see the need for the proposed changes to the current system.
"The proposed changes" were to increase software patenting in Europe, so Novell's rejection of these changes is good, however, "the current system" is a system that does grant many software patents, so supporting the current system is bad.
Another slightly relevant statement is:
While patents play an important role in protecting intellectual property, their use by some vendors to influence customer choice is without precedent.
Related pages on ESP Wiki
- http://www.microsoft.com/interop/msnovellcollab/patent_agreement.mspx - The MS-Novell agreement
- "Microsoft and Novell Announce Broad Collaboration on Windows and Linux Interoperability and Support". http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/nov06/11-02MSNovellPR.mspx. "Microsoft will distribute coupons for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server maintenance and support, so that customers can benefit from the use of an interoperable version of Linux with patent coverage as well as the collaborative work between the two companies."
- 2004 statement on European Patent Policy
- Press release, October 2004