Microsoft put 22 patents up for sale in July, listing them all as in the "open source" category, with some of them, "Linux-focused." The ultimate buyer was the Open Invention Network, a consortium of Linux backers that wanted to take them off the market.
But in between Microsoft marketing and OIN ownership there was a bit of behind the scenes maneuvering. OIN was never approached by Microsoft to buy the patents, even though it was an obvious, interested party.

And the actual bidder, Allied Security Trust, was acting as a front man for OIN as well as its own 11 members. OIN was approached by AST "early in the process and invited to be a surrogate bidder," unbeknownst to Microsoft, says OIN CEO Keith Bergelt.

When AST's bid won the auction, AST and OIN signed a deal that made OIN the ultimate holder of the patents. The irony of the maneuver is that it was an unlikely outcome.

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