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The EU won’t stand in the way of Microsoft & Friends acquiring Novell’s patents

CPTN Holdings–a Microsoft-led group with fellow-members Apple, EMC, and Oracle–isn’t just still try buying Novell’s patents, the group’s patent acquisition attempt recently received an OK from the European Commission (EC) vice president and competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia.

As Florian Mueller, an European intellectual property activist pointed out in his blog, Emma McClarkin, a British conservative from the East Midlands, asked the EC, on behalf of a constituent, that they were concerned about “Microsoft recently purchasing a large number of patents from Novell. This 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?”

On behalf of the EC, the European Union’s (EU) executive branch, Almunia replied, “The Commission is aware of the proposed acquisition by CPTN Holdings, a consortium of technology companies which includes Microsoft Corp, of a portfolio of 882 patents from Novell. On the basis of the information currently available at this stage, it appears unlikely that the proposed transaction requires a notification to the Commission under the Merger Regulation.”

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