Beat the Drum
Before entering into a patent agreement, Microsoft said it also did due diligence on the other companys patent portfolio as well as on its own. "We look at it first by just characterizing the portfolio under rough technical buckets like, say, rights management. We then also do claim analyses and drill down on third-party patents in the products," he said.However, in an attempt to play down the perception that Microsoft is a voracious patent litigator, Kaefer noted that the company had just asserted one patent lawsuit in its history. "There is a certain reality to our behavior that people need to view in the context of this relationship with Novell," he said. "We continue to beat the drum that sharing patents is the way to do it, but you have to find creative ways to share them when there are different models with different goals. The nature of the structure of the agreement we have struck with Novell is different precisely because of the need to respect things like the General Public License and the community development model," he said. From Novells perspective, John Dragoon, its senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said it is also important to note that the patent indemnification between the two companies is only extended to their mutual customers, and does not prevent Novell from suing Microsoft over patent infringement or vice versa. Industry reaction has been mixed to the Microsoft-Novell agreement. Click here to read more. Asked how Novell plans to deal with, and put right, the fallout from the deal in the Linux and open-source community, Dragoon said the open-source community "was, is and remains important to Novell. I do take exception on behalf of the companys employees who have spend their lives making contributions to the community that we have somehow sold out," he told eWEEK in an interview. Novell in fact saw the deal as advancing the cause of Linux and open source and putting this platform on the same footing as Microsofts [Windows] and giving it a fair chance from a technical and business perspective to compete and interoperate. "Most clients have been asking us to do that," he said. Next Page: "Brutal" feedback.
But, at some level, companies make a decision to either live each day in a room with a bunch of patent attorneys and parse every line of code that developers wrote, or "we can all just get out of one anothers way and go solve customer problems," he said.