Novell and EFF form patent alliance

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Novell and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 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. ‘But we believe that software patent system reform is necessary to promote software innovation going forward.’

The partnership will work together to lobby governments and organisations to develop legislation and policies around patents to promote innovation.

Novell will also contribute significant resources to the EFF's ‘Patent Busting’ project, which aims to invalidate patents that particularly impose software developers and internet users.

‘EFF has long been at the forefront in addressing the key challenges of the digital age,’ said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. ‘The support of Novell 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.’

Novell holds more than 500 patents, but recognises that the new model for innovation is open source, and the existing patent system is detrimental to open source development. Novell co-founded Open Invention Network, an intellectual property company in 2005 to promote Linux by using patents to create a collaborative environment.

‘This 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. ‘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.’