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Apple, others withdraw filing for Novell patent purchase

CPTN Holdings LLC, a consortium of companies which include Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle, has withdrawn its filing to purchase 882 patents originally held by Novell. In December, the group submitted a plan to the German government's anti-trust authority notifying them of their plan to purchase these patents for $450 million.

These patents were offered as part of Attachmate's deal to buy Novell. The purchase of these patents by CPTN was opposed by open source organizations, including the Open Source Initiative and the Free Software Foundation Europe. Both open source groups filed complaints against this transaction with German regulators.

In its complaint, the Open Source Initiative noted, "The founders and leaders of CPTN have a long history of opposing and misrepresenting the value of open source software, which is at the heart of Web infrastructure and of many of the most widely used software products and services. The sole or leading competition for several products from the CPTN principals are open source."

Despite the withdrawal of this application, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that CPTN still plans to purchase these Novell patents. Instead of a change of heart, this decision may have been a procedural step that would let CPTN modify its filing. According to this theory, CPTN could make changes that would ease the concerns of open source groups and allow the purchase to proceed more smoothly.