Microsoft and others cleared to buy Nortel's patents

Microsoft, along with Apple and Research in Motion, have been granted approval to gain ownership of over 6,000 patents that were owned by the now bankrupt Nortel. The US Justice Department gave their blessings to the deal today, which was originally announced in July 2011. Those patents were sold off at action at the time for $4.5 billion.

Google had originally tried to buy all of Nortel's patents by itself for just $900 million but Microsoft, Apple, RIM and other companies teamed up to keep those patents out of Google's hands.

In its statement announcing the approval of the Nortel patent sale, the Justice Department said:

During the course of the division’s investigation, several of the principal competitors, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, made commitments concerning their SEP licensing policies.  The division’s concerns about the potential anticompetitive use of SEPs was lessened by the clear commitments by Apple and Microsoft to license SEPs on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, as well as their commitments not to seek injunctions in disputes involving SEPs.  Google’s commitments were more ambiguous and do not provide the same direct confirmation of its SEP licensing policies.

The former Nortel patents themselves cover a wide range of subjects and products including "wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors" and more. Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection back in 2009 and has been selling off its properties to pay off its creditors.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Webmail shows massive declines

Next Story

Windows Store blog talks about submitting apps

6 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

j2006 said,
Good. Glad they went into the right hands instead of Google's hooves.

Yeah like Microsoft needs patents themselves ¬_¬

j2006 said,
Good. Glad they went into the right hands instead of Google's hooves.

Right, might as well end up with someone who will actively use it to sue the competition out of business instead of Google who never sue someone themselves.

KomaWeiss said,

Yeah like Microsoft needs patents themselves ¬_¬

At least Microsoft is willing to license their patents. And as the group agreed to do just that, the argument that Apple is now going to sue everyone is also ridiculous...

recursive said,

Right, might as well end up with someone who will actively use it to sue the competition out of business instead of Google who never sue someone themselves.

Google is clearly preparing to do just that. Since they don't actually create anything patentable, they are opting to purchase as many as they can to hold over other companies... I'm glad they won't be able to do that in this case.

M_Lyons10 said,

Google is clearly preparing to do just that. Since they don't actually create anything patentable, they are opting to purchase as many as they can to hold over other companies... I'm glad they won't be able to do that in this case.

It depends on how you look at it. I see at it more as Google buying patents to allow them to defend themselves (and specifically their Android OEMS) against the barrage of litigation that Apple et al are raining down on them now.

Litigation is the new innovation -.-