As Open Source Flagships Attack CPTN/Novell Patent Deal, Some OSS Advocates Take More Pragmatic Positions

[US Department of Justice, home of the Antitrust Division; via Wikimedia] In the course of the announced purchase of 822 Novell patents by CPTN Holdings LLC - a consortium of Microsoft, Apple, EMC, and Oracle - as a part of Novell's merger into Attachmate Corporation (see press release), the Open Software Initiative (OSI) lodged a complaint with the Bundeskartellamt (German Federal Cartel Office) against an announced "notified merger project", i.e. the request of the four software heavyweights to establish a patent consortium (see posting). CPTN has withdrawn their request a couple of days later for "procedural" reasons, rather than in reaction to OSI's complaint (see posting). On the level of European competition law, apparently, no concerns exist about CPTN's patent transaction, as reported on the FOSSpatents blog. On 20 December 2010 British conservative MEP Emma McClarkin submitted a written question to the EU Commission in which she raised that
this [patent] move strengthens the hold Microsoft has over its competitors, which could potentially harm consumer choice and increase prices. Is the Commission aware of this situation? If so, does the Commission believe there have been any infractions by Microsoft of EU competition laws?
Joaquín Almunia, EU Competition Commissioner, responded on 17 January 2011 that
it appears unlikely that the proposed transaction requires a notification to the Commission under the Merger Regulation. Furthermore, [...] the Commission has currently no indication that the mere acquisition of the patents in question by CPTN Holdings would lead to an infringement of EU competition rules.
As opposed to the positions taken by OSI and FSFE, prominent anti-patent campaigner Florian Müller "couldn't find any real substance" in their complaints:
Those complaints came down to indicating a dislike for patents and distrust for the companies behind CPTN Holdings ...
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