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OSI Commends the US Department of Justice

According to filings made by Novell

[On] February 2, 2011, each of [CPTN Holdings] and Novell received a Second Request from the DOJ regarding the sale of certain identified patents and patent applications to CPTN contemplated by the Patent Purchase Agreement. The Second Requests have the effect of extending the waiting period under the HSR Act until 30 days after both parties have substantially complied with the Second Requests, unless the waiting period is earlier terminated. Novell is in the process of gathering information to respond to this Second Request and is continuing to cooperate fully with the DOJ in connection with its review.

The Open Source Initiative commends the US Department of Justice for taking this important step to promote innovation by issuing a second request and deepening the investigation of CPTN's acquisition of Novell's patents. As we have stated, the history is clear: patents have been—and are likely to be—used by CPTN and its members to create fear, uncertainty and doubt concerning open source software, raise competitors costs and threaten customers. We trust and hope that following a thorough investigation, the DoJ will impose whatever measures are necessary to ensure that CPTN does not harm the commercial open source development model or market competition.

The Open Source Initiative is also grateful to the Free Software Foundation for joining with the OSI in making a statement [1] [2] to the US Department of Justice, thus making it clear that this matter concerns the whole community of free, libre, and open source software (FLOSS) users and developers. As the FSF says in their response to the fact of the DOJ's second request

When proprietary software companies attack free software with patents, that can be anticompetitive activity. The DOJ is right to investigate and ensure that won't be a problem with this deal, and they're setting good precedent for investigating future acquisitions.

We agree.