The Patent Purchase Agreement provides that, upon the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the Patent Purchase Agreement, Novell will sell to CPTN all of Novell’s right, title and interest in 882 patents (the “Assigned Patents”) for $450 million in cash (the “Patent Sale”).
N.B. I'm presuming "Assigned Patents" in the above quote refer to the 8-K, and not the USPTO terminology below.
Taking a quick look at what the USPTO has to say about patents Novell owns as assignee, we find:
- Patents with Novell as Assignee Name or Novell as Inventor Name: 467
- Patent Applications [published] with Novell as Assignee Name or Novell as Inventor Name: 290
So 757 patents and applications. Even adding Attachmate's patent portfolio (14 plus two applications) doesn't really make a difference. I don't know how many "unpublished" patent applications exist in the mix. I don't know if there are a pile of provisional filings that don't show up in the list. I don't know if there are patents outside of the USPTO that are different (unlikely) or overlap in different jurisdictions (in which case one wonders at the import of them if only ~100 were cross-filed. Even doing a search through the USPTO "Patent Assignment Database (Assignments on the Web)" only brings up 775 patents with Novell's name on them.
So to me (naively) it looks like Microsoft vacuumed up the Novell portfolio because it could. I find it more interesting that US$450M was paid for the portfolio. That's about a half million dollars per patent. That seems like a rather large premium when the average patent is supposedly worth about US$75K to file and maintain over its lifetime. (Investors should be curious.) I'm betting it has more to do with Microsoft having a lot of cash and needing to make the overall deal terms palatable to all the partners. So as Brian Proffitt pointed out, I'm not sure things are any more dire today than they were a week ago.