Microsoft, Apple and others buy out Nortel's patents

A group of companies that include Microsoft and Apple have reached an agreement to buy out the remaining patents from Nortel. The over 6,000 patents were sold off in auction earlier this week for a price of $4.5 billion, according to a story at The Canadian based communications company filed for bankruptcy protection back in 2009 and has been selling off its properties to pay off its creditors.

In addition to Microsoft and Apple the group that bought Nortel's remaining patents include familiar names like EMC, Ericsson, Research In Motion and Sony. The patents themselves cover a wide range of subjects and products including "wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors" and more. The deal is not yet final. Nortel must still get court approval from both Canada and the US on July 11 and expects to officially close the deal later in the third quarter.

Originally Google wanted to get its hands on Nortel's patent library and offered a sum of $900 million to take them off Nortel's hands. Instead of accepting the deal Nortel decided to see if it could get a higher price for its patents in an auction. The final $4.5 billion deal proves that Nortel was right in waiting for more money. However the US Justice Department apparently was concerned that having one company get access to the patents might give it an unfair edge. Perhaps that's why the winning bid went to a large consortium of companies rather than just one of them.

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