Novell and the Electronic Frontier Foundation Team Up to Reform Software Patents - Organizations will jointly lobby governments, international organizations

- Novell to support EFF 'Patent Busting' initiative



    SAN FRANCISCO, May 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Open Source Business
 Conference -- Novell and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today
 announced they are teaming up to work on reforms to software patents
 worldwide.
     "It is increasingly obvious that software patents are not a meaningful
 measure of innovation," said Jeff Jaffe, executive vice president and chief
 technology officer at Novell. "As a long-time innovator in the industry and
 a holder of many significant patents, we understand the rationale behind
 the patent system in general. But we believe that software patent system
 reform is necessary to promote software innovation going forward."
     Novell and the EFF will work to lobby governments and national and
 international organizations to develop legislation and policies around
 patents designed to promote innovation. A key area of focus will be the
 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), where member governments
 of the United Nations meet to coordinate positions on intellectual property
 issues. Given the ease with which software ideas and code cross borders, a
 global approach to the issue is required.
     In addition, Novell will contribute significant resources to the EFF's
 ongoing "Patent Busting" project. Launched in 2004, the project is designed
 to attack patents that impose particularly heavy burdens on software
 developers and Internet users by identifying prior art that can be used to
 invalidate those patents and by pursuing invalidation of those patents
 through re-examination efforts.
     "EFF has long been at the forefront in addressing the key challenges of
 the digital age, including worldwide intellectual property issues," said
 EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "The support of Novell -- a company
 founded on the proprietary software development model but now strongly
 embracing the open source approach -- will be a great boon to our efforts
 to rid the industry of innovation-killing patents. We hope Novell's example
 encourages other software vendors to join the effort."
     An early innovator in networking, word processing and messaging
 technologies, Novell holds more than 500 patents, many of which are
 fundamental to technologies in the market today. Having shifted its
 business to focus more on open source and open standards-based solutions,
 Novell recognizes the new model for innovation is open source, and the
 existing patent system is detrimental to open source development. Novell
 has already taken several steps to promote the use of patents to protect
 open source, including a 2004 pledge to use its own patents to defend
 against patent attacks on open source, and the contribution of patents and
 significant financial resources to Open Invention Network, an intellectual
 property company Novell co-founded in 2005 to promote Linux* by using
 patents to create a collaborative environment.
     "Today's announcement is a logical next step for Novell in its efforts
 to make patents a non-issue for the software community," said Nat Friedman,
 chief strategy and technology officer for open source at Novell. "Under the
 current patent system, without a willingness by all companies to share
 their patents freely, software patents hobble open standards and
 interoperability, impede innovation and progress, threaten the development
 of free and open source software, and have a chilling effect on software
 development. Our partnership with the EFF is about creating a world where
 software developers and users do not to have to worry about the negative
 consequences of patents."
     About EFF
     The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties
 organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in
 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to
 support free expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported
 organization and maintains one of the most linked-to websites in the world
 at http://www.eff.org.
     About Novell
     Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq:   NOVL) delivers infrastructure software for the
 Open Enterprise. Novell is a leader in enterprise-wide operating systems
 based on Linux and open source and provides the enterprise management
 services required to operate mixed IT environments. Novell helps customers
 minimize cost, complexity and risk, allowing them to focus on innovation
 and growth. For more information, visit http://www.novell.com.
     Novell is a registered trademark of Novell, Inc. in the United States
 and other countries. *Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.
 All other third-party trademarks are the property of their respective
 owners.
 
 

SOURCE Novell, Inc.
RELATED LINKS
http://www.novell.com

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