OSI lodges complaint over Novell/CPTN deal
The Open Source Initiative has asked the German Federal Cartel Office to investigate an element of Attachmate's acquisition of Novell. The deal involved a third party, CPTN, paying $450 million for over eight hundred of Novell's patents or patent applications. CPTN is a consortium created and lead by Microsoft, which was revealed also to include Apple, EMC and Oracle.
In the letter to the German Federal Cartel Office, the OSI says, "The founders and leaders of CPTN have a long history of opposing and misrepresenting the value of open source software". Because the competition to products from these companies is open source, the OSI calls on regulatory authorities to "recognize the significance of open source software" and urges them to investigate the CPTN transaction further. The OSI suggests that CPTN has "all the motives and opportunity" to use the patent portfolio as a way to attack open source saying "they have no incentive to support open source as a competitive alternative to proprietary software".
This is the first time that the OSI has publicly intervened and asked regulatory authorities to investigate an acquisition or deal. Simon Phipps, OSI Board member calls this "a significant new step for the OSI" in his blog and says it "reflects a changing emphasis for the organisation" as it moves to a wider role representing "the interests of the open source movement".