[TriLUG] Novell and Patents
thompson at easternrad.com
Tue Oct 12 14:11:36 EDT 2004
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I received an interesting message from Novell today, snipped for your
12 Oct 2004
Dear Valued Customer:
Today Novell expands its commitment to you by putting its extensive
patent portfolio squarely behind its customers, and we thought you'd
like to know about it. Our motivations are simple: protect customer
choice and preserve marketplace innovation.
Novell has just issued a statement announcing our preparedness, if
necessary, to use our own patent portfolio - which covers technologies
with significant value and widespread deployment in the IT sector today
- - to defend against patent attacks on open source products we deliver.
Both the press release and policy statement are available at
This initiative is aimed at any vendor that tries to mislead customers
using intellectual property rights as a reason to avoid pursuit of an
open source offering. To our knowledge, no vendor has actually filed a
patent suit against an open source product. Instead, some appear to be
simply trying to sow doubts in the minds of customers to avoid competing
on technical merits, security, quality of service and value. Novell
believes that open source software poses no greater risk of patent
infringement than does closed source software.
I believe our Chairman, Jack Messman, said it best when he stated, ?Our
approach is to protect customer choice, not threaten it, and support the
innovation inherent in the open source model. With this policy, we're
saying we'll use our patents to actively protect Novell's open source
technologies against any third party asserting patent claims against our
offerings. We will use our patents for the original purpose patents were
established ? to encourage innovation ? not to shut down options for
customers. We hope our leadership in this arena will lead other patent
holders to take a similar stance.?
I greatly appreciate the trust and confidence you have placed in Novell.
Ronald W. Hovsepian
President, Novell North America
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