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DOJ OKs Google bid on Nortel patents, Apple still in talks

updated 07:45 pm EDT, Tue June 14, 2011

DOJ gives OK to Google patent terms

The US Department of Justice has approved Google's controversial bid on Nortel's patents, sources mentioned Tuesday evening. Officials had told the WSJ that the Android maker's patent ownership wouldn't raise competitive issues and accepted its terms, which would let it end existing agreements if it won the $900 million bid. Microsoft had objected and wanted existing terms to carry over since it already claimed to have a complete, free license for all of Nortel's patents.

Google had made the bid as a defensive measure, both to prevent easy patent trolling and to get a warchest of patents it could use to countersue a company if it attacked Android or an Android partner. Microsoft has been using lawsuits to stifle Android and would suddenly go without Nortel's technology to use as a weapon.

Simultaneously, Apple is still in talks for its own possible bid, as is RIM, extra tips revealed. DOJ officials are known to be skittish about handing the patents to either the iPhone or BlackBerry creators, since both are known to aggressively sue competitors to guard patents.

The combined pool of 6,000 patents focus mostly on wireless, including LTE-based 4G and Wi-Fi, and could give anyone who acquires some or all of the patents a way of dictating terms in the wireless world. Nokia's 3G patents were strong enough that it collects royalties from most phone builders and steered Apple into a settlement. Apple, for example, could use 4G rights as leverage.

Nortel decided to sell the patents to help exit bankruptcy and is due to hold the auction on June 20.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Help exit bankruptcy

    why can't they license the patents to help prevent bankruptcy?

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Help exit bankruptcy

    I would prefer to see them kept out of the hands of any of the companies mentioned above.

  1. LenE

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Toil and Trouble

    "DOJ officials are known to be skittish about handing the patents to either the iPhone or BlackBerry creators, since both are known to aggressively sue competitors to guard patents."

    Really? Please!!!

    They are skittish because neither Apple nor RIM has built the ties with the current administration that Google has. The DOJ cares not a whit about the litigiousness of any of the companies, as the DOJ is comprised almost entirely of lawyers!

    At the same time, they don't really care about fairness, only the appearance of fairness. Microsoft's worry about their existing contractual licenses to the patents is a layer below the actual sale of said patents. Depending on the wording of those contracts, Microsoft may have a reserved first right of refusal to purchase the patents, that Google is trying to strip. Normally an unlicensed third party would not get this power, but bankruptcy sales change things. If the patents were this valuable, Nortel should still be going strong with licensing.

    -- Len

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011

    -10

    Apple

    Any time Apple gets involved, you can bet there's something wrong. They are rotten to the core!

    Drrrrrrroid!

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