Novell on Nov. 7 explained how its recent patent agreement with Microsoft neither violates the GPL nor implies that Linux infringes on any of Microsofts patents.
Additionally, “Novell entered this broad set of agreements with Microsoft to further promote the adoption of Linux,” according to Novells senior VP and general counsel, Joseph A. LaSala, Jr.
In particular, LaSala continued, “Many people want to know whether this agreement is compatible with Novells obligations under the GPL, especially section 7. This was an important consideration for us as well.”
“Under the patent cooperation agreement, Novells customers receive directly from Microsoft a covenant not to sue. Novell does not receive a patent license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft, and we have not agreed with Microsoft to any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL.
“Our agreement does not affect the freedom that Novell or anyone else in the open source community, including developers, has under the GPL and does not impose any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL.
“Therefore, the agreement is fully compliant with the GPL,” concluded LaSala.
In a Novell and Microsoft FAQ, Novell goes into a bit more detail.
“Our agreement with Microsoft is focused on our customers, and does not include a patent license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft to Novell (or, for that matter, from Novell to Microsoft).
“Novells customers receive a covenant not to sue directly from Microsoft. We have not agreed with Microsoft to any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL and we are in full compliance,” the FAQ states.