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01 July 2011, 10:29

Consortium takes Nortel's patent armoury

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Nortel logo Google has lost its $900M bid for the Nortel patent portfolio to a consortium which included Microsoft, Sony, Apple, Research in Motion, Ericsson and EMC, and which offered $4.5 billion for the portfolio of over 6,000 patents. Nortel announced the winning bid saying, "The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world."

Google had said it was bidding to protect the open source communities around Android and Chrome, but in the end, the portfolio sold for nearly four times its previously estimated $1.1 billion value. RIM alone is paying $770 million for its share, while Ericsson is paying $340 million.

Google's SVP and General Counsel Kent Walker told Bloomberg, “This outcome is disappointing for anyone who believes that open innovation benefits users and promotes creativity and competition. We will keep working to reduce the current flood of patent litigation that hurts both innovators and consumers."

Nortel filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and creditors had reportedly been hoping to raise a billion dollars from the sale of the company's patent portfolio. The portfolio consists of around 6,000 patents covering technologies in wireless infrastructure and handsets, including wireless 4G, data networking, optical networking, internet advertising, voice communications and computing. The deal is subject to court approval and a hearing is due to be held on 11 July.


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