Novell Patent Grab: “Cheap Defensive Insurance”
An interesting new development in the big Novell patent sale that went down in November. Turns out that CPTN Holdings LLC, the Microsoft-led consortium that purchased the 882 patent portfolio, includes quite a few other industry heavyweights. According to a Dec. 9 merger notification posted by the Bundeskartellamt–Germany’s federal cartel office–other members of CPTN Holdings include Apple, Oracle and EMC.
Which is intriguing.
Because while companies do sometimes ally to pool patent rights, this seems an…unusual alliance. Why are these patents–which presumably cover networking, virtualization and data center technologies–important enough that Microsoft, EMC, Oracle and Apple would create an LLC to acquire and cross-license them? That’s not entirely clear, though a source inside one of the four companies tells me it was essentially an alliance of convenience.
“We get to buy in at a cheap price and get a license to a very valuable portfolio,” a source inside one of the four companies told me. “It’s cheap defensive insurance.”