Both Novell and Microsoft have patent portfolios on their Proprietary codes. But FOSS does not have a patent portfolio only copyleft and whatever FOSS License it use. Both Novell and microsoft shall be helping each other to improve interoperability of ODF and OXML among other things. Remember the Microsoft holds the right for royalty fees on OXML.
The problem will occur when Novell knows about Microsoft Technology and contributes to GPL'd/LGPL'd Softwares (i.e. OpenOffice). It's just hard to keep track on how clean Novell's code contribution from patent infringement. When working with a GPL'd code you are working with the community and cannot narrow the rights on the code to a selected vendor(s). With the involved threat it would make it ineffective for Novell to contribute to GPL or FOSS projects. This bans them the right to continue using GPL code; as part of the Principle is to distribute code without additional restrictions.
Microsoft will wait and squeal when code from Novell will take clout into major FOSS projects and they can claim any patent infringement, under the sun against, any FOSS projects they choose. That's the bottom line.
Microsoft need to do drop down all patents claims against all FOSS projects; do a public statement and give specific patent portfolios. Until then, stay away from all Novell solutions and contributions; better yet, revoke their right to use FOSS code because of the imminent threat it imposes on the ecology of FOSS. This can happen with project leaders making the effective steps.
Remember folks..... it's still war for Microsoft. Declaring that they do not enforce patent claims against those who contribute unpaid and for Novell. This mean that they want to destroy the ecology of FOSS by rendering programmers jobless and without an income. That is not the idea of FOSS. FREE is not about Price it's about FREEDOM. A programmer gets paid because he/she has the capability to drive the technology. If a programmer is dismissed, by virtue of GPL, he/she has the right to continue to contribute or create his own bundle of solution.