Apple and Google in a bidding war over Nortel's wireless patents

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Apple and Google are reportedly competing for patents being sold by bankrupt Canadian telecom Nortel. Nortel filed for bankruptcy in January 2009 and sold most of its business units to rivals Ericsson, Hitachi, and others. Nortel's remaining assets include 4,000 patents that have been organized into six groups including one for wireless handsets and 3G/4G wireless infrastructure. Nortel was previously the second largest supplier of CDMA equipment in the world and was involved in both WiMAX and LTE technology. Sales of these patents are expected to generate $1 billion for Nortel's creditors.

According to Reuters' unnamed sources, these wireless patents have attracted the attention of Apple, Google, Motorola, and RIM. Research firm Fairfield Resources suggests Nortel owned seven of the 105 patent families considered to be critical to the development and deployment of LTE and SAE (Service Architecture evolution), a core network architecture of LTE. Nortel's LTE assets are not as hefty as Nokia, which owns 57 patent families, or Ericsson, which has 14, but are more on par with Qualcomm and Sony. This is an excellent opportunity for the winning bidder, as patents of this nature usually do not become available on the market. Bidding on these Nortel patents reportedly began seven months ago and all bids are currently sealed.

Google may be interested in these patents to help beef up its wireless patent portfolio. Google has a vested interest in mobile, as Android, its mobile operating system, is competing with Apple for the #2 mobile OS slot. Similarly, Apple may be eyeing these patents for future 4G versions of the iPhone and the iPad. Though the Cupertino company has yet to release a device on Verizon Wireless, circulating rumors suggest it is interested in producing an LTE-enabled version of the iPhone for the wireless carrier.

AT&T, the sole carrier of the iPhone in the U.S., is also rolling out an LTE network, but it is a year behind rival Verizon. This LTE revolution is not confined to North America; LTE and WiMAX are slowly replacing current 3G technology worldwide. There is little doubt that LTE and WiMAX will be the standards of choice for future wireless technology and owning this small arsenal of 3G/4G wireless patents would certainly give the winning bidder a leg up over its competition. 

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29 Comments

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LOL people are hoping for either Apple or Google to win the bidding. Imagine if Microsoft was secretly bidding on this too and Microsoft happens to win. Wow, that will be a major blow to hand-held devices. If Microsoft indeed has a hand on this too, Google will suffer greatly.

Tom said,
I hope to hell Google win.
Apple are whining little ****'s when it comes to patents.

+1

There should be a ban on apple and patents. If apple had kinect the world would be still playing kinectimals and apple would be wingeing about people doing something great with their "intellectual property."

And your touch screen nano is ridiculous

Tom said,
I hope to hell Google win.
Apple are whining little ****'s when it comes to patents.

Yes because Google lets you do anything you want with its patents... /shoves archos under carpet
Both companies are exactly the same. stop being a fanboy

ILikeTobacco said,

Yes because Google lets you do anything you want with its patents... /shoves archos under carpet
Both companies are exactly the same. stop being a fanboy

lol "both companies are exactly the same." Far from it.

ILikeTobacco said,

Yes because Google lets you do anything you want with its patents... /shoves archos under carpet
Both companies are exactly the same. stop being a ******

Google is not nearly as anal about their patents as Apple is. The only reason Google is going after Apple for any patents is because Apple went after them first just like Apple went after several other companies. Google has to protect themselves after all.

briangw said,

lol "both companies are exactly the same." Far from it.

both buy any patents they think will turn a profit or give them the edge over a competitor whenever they can. they both strictly enforce their patents. yes. they are both exactly the same.

ILikeTobacco said,

both buy any patents they think will turn a profit or give them the edge over a competitor whenever they can. they both strictly enforce their patents. yes. they are both exactly the same.

Apple has gobbled up more patents than Apple. And to say they are the same because of this AND because they both strictly enforce their patents, is inaccurate as well. Any company will enforce their patents. So basically you are saying Motorola, Apple, Android, RIMM, Microsoft...and any other company strictly enforcing their patents, are the same.

Of course companies are going to enforce and protect their property. Its when they go around BUYING a bunch of patents...aka becoming a patent whore, that separates then from the rest.

techbeck said,

Google is not nearly as anal about their patents as Apple is. The only reason Google is going after Apple for any patents is because Apple went after them first just like Apple went after several other companies. Google has to protect themselves after all.

Unfortunatly, the protect themselves excuses really only works depending on what type of fanboy your are

techbeck said,

Apple has gobbled up more patents than Apple. And to say they are the same because of this AND because they both strictly enforce their patents, is inaccurate as well. Any company will enforce their patents. So basically you are saying Motorola, Apple, Android, RIMM, Microsoft...and any other company strictly enforcing their patents, are the same.

Of course companies are going to enforce and protect their property. Its when they go around BUYING a bunch of patents...aka becoming a patent whore, that separates then from the rest.

Both google and apple are patent whores. people keep trying to put one company on a high horse over another company when they are all doing the same thing. anyone who claims that one company isn't as evil as the next is disillusioned and should come back to the real world where companies all do the same thing because it works. They all buy patents when they can, they all enforce them. It's old news and fact. The reason people don't realize Google buys tons of patents is because they don't usually buy patents directly the way most other companies do. They buy entire companies which bring their patents with them.

ILikeTobacco said,

Yes because Google lets you do anything you want with its patents... /shoves archos under carpet
Both companies are exactly the same. stop being a fanboy

did you really say that lol

ILikeTobacco said,

Both google and apple are patent whores. people keep trying to put one company on a high horse over another company when they are all doing the same thing. anyone who claims that one company isn't as evil as the next is disillusioned and should come back to the real world where companies all do the same thing because it works. They all buy patents when they can, they all enforce them. It's old news and fact. The reason people don't realize Google buys tons of patents is because they don't usually buy patents directly the way most other companies do. They buy entire companies which bring their patents with them.

Yes, you are 100% correct. All companies are exactly the same. Now, where did I put my tin foil hat....

techbeck said,

Yes, you are 100% correct. All companies are exactly the same. Now, where did I put my tin foil hat....


i thought you had it on when you thought google doesnt patent troll and isnt evil?

evo_spook said,

Unfortunatly, the protect themselves excuses really only works depending on what type of fanboy your are

Funny how people, like you, like to come around and call people names and provide NOTHING useful to this thread. And before you say "same to you"...I was not bashing Apple here, just saying they are more protective of their patents and buy more.

ILikeTobacco said,

i thought you had it on when you thought google doesnt patent troll and isnt evil?

Did I say they didnt patent troll? Did I say they were not evil? No, I did not say either of those things. all I said that compared to Google and Apple...Apple is worse.

Some people just see what they want to see I guess.....

And further more, I dont think ANY company is evil. Some are more arrogant and have bigger egos than others...but calling a company evil is stretching it. Unless you have on good authority they are working for the dark side....

techbeck said,

Funny how people, like you, like to come around and call people names and provide NOTHING useful to this thread. And before you say "same to you"...I was not bashing Apple here, just saying they are more protective of their patents and buy more.

haha, I never called you anything lol who is evil and who is protecting themselves stands for both sides depending on which side you sit in, I neither pointed at Android nor at Apple.

Tragic.
In the event of a company's collapse, the patents should become public domain.
Companies shouldn't be allowed to get into a bidding war over this type of stuff.

dotf said,
Tragic.
In the event of a company's collapse, the patents should become public domain.
Companies shouldn't be allowed to get into a bidding war over this type of stuff.

Have to pay off your debts somehow, and they are worth money

neufuse said,

Have to pay off your debts somehow, and they are worth money

They are only worth money because of how the patent system works today.

And we all know that you don't have to pay your debts. Look at the US for a case in point.

dotf said,

They are only worth money because of how the patent system works today.

And we all know that you don't have to pay your debts. Look at the US for a case in point.

I hate to say this is different (because we get into a huge boo USA discussion), but creditors are like vulchers they will pick any meat off the bones of a company to get back anything they can they are owed by the company...

and its irrelevant that is because how the system works today, the point is that IS how the system works today

dotf said,

They are only worth money because of how the patent system works today.

And we all know that you don't have to pay your debts. Look at the US for a case in point.

A company invests X into developing and researching something, unfortunately a word wide recession hits and they collapse.

At what point do you think that should be public domain, it should either become property of the debtors, or retain property of the ghost organisation to assist in paying its debts?

xXTOKERXx said,

A company invests X into developing and researching something, unfortunately a word wide recession hits and they collapse.

At what point do you think that should be public domain, it should either become property of the debtors, or retain property of the ghost organisation to assist in paying its debts?

Well Nortell was going bye bye before the recession hit, we have a phone system from them at work, and we were told 8 yrs ago they where going and to start looking for a new system basically

VoIP did more harm to them then anything