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Microsoft's Novell patent pals return to SuSE's homeland

Back in business

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The Microsoft-led consortium of tech companies trying to hoover up nearly 1,000 of Novell's patents is back in business.

CPTN Holdings re-registered with German authorities on Wednesday, according to the website of the German Federal Cartel Office. Plans to create CPTN as a German entity were withdrawn in December 2010.

CPTN is buying 882 of Novell's patents in a deal with soon-to-be Novell-owner Attachmate. Apple, EMC, and Oracle are also members of CPTN, but it's helmed by Redmond.

The re-registration of CPTN in the homeland of Novell's SuSE Linux was picked up by patents watcher Florian Mueller, who also noticed Novell's stock price is up 2.8 per cent in the US. "Looks like a strong clearance rumor or some other very signficant news," he Tweeted Thursday.

It certainly can't be Novell's financial position that's driving up the stock price. The Attachmate deal is helping to stall sales, with Novell recently reporting a $17.9m loss for its fiscal first quarter, compared to a profit of $20.2m a year ago.

Could Novell's sale to Attachmate and related sale patents to CPTN be closing? When CPTN withdrew from Germany last year, Microsoft called the move a "purely procedural step necessary to provide time to allow for review of the proposed transaction."

The group actually stopped operations the day before OSI president Michael Tiemann lodged an official complaint with the Federal Cartel Office, asking regulators to investigate the sale of the patents.

CPTN registered in US on November 11, 2010, and it has apparently continued operation throughout.

Officially at least, both Attachmate's acquisition and the CPTN deal are on hold in the US until April 12 while the Department of Justice reviews them. ®

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