Why Did Microsoft Sell Off 22 'Linux-Related' Patents?
The Open Invention Network acquires 22 patents that purportedly relate to Linux from AST, which had acquired them from Microsoft. OIN questions Microsoft's motive in selling off the patents elsewhere.What was Microsoft's motive in selling off 22 patents purportedly relating to Linux? The Open Invention Network Sept. 8 confirmed its acquisition of 22 patents formerly held by Microsoft that it described as "Linux-focused." OIN acquired the patents from the Allied Security Trust, which acquired them from Microsoft in a private auction sale in July. Microsoft itself acquired the patents in a deal with Silicon Graphics.
In an interview with eWEEK, Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN, said he could not speak for Microsoft but he wonders whether the company had ulterior motives in selling the patents to AST rather than an organization such as OIN.
We sold 22 patents to AST in July 2009. The terms were confidential. We acquired these patents several years ago as part of a larger business agreement with SGI. We are constantly evaluating our patent portfolio-which recently received top ranking in the software industry-to ensure its makeup fits into the business goals of the organization. These patents were deemed to be non-core to our business and non-essential for our IP portfolio. When an interested buyer for this technology was identified, after discussing it both internally and with the potential buyer, we felt this was the right direction to go in relating to these specific patents.