RIM looks to outbid Apple, Google, and Nokia for Nortel’s patent treasure trove

“Bloomberg reports: ‘RIM, maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, is weighing an offer that would keep Google from gaining control of about 6,000 Nortel patents and patent applications, said the people, who couldn’t be identified because the plans aren’t public.’ Sources claim that ‘a group of technology companies, including mobile-phone makers,’ may also join the fray to keep Google from laying its hands on Nortel’s patent chest,” Christian Zibreg reports for The Motley Fool. “John Paczkowski of The Wall Street Journal‘s “Digital Daily” blog wrote last December that Nokia, Apple, Google, and RIMM were all participating in the auction.”

“Patents are everything in the technology industry, and even more so in a sue-happy place like Silicon Valley,” Zibreg reports. “Whoever wins the bid gets to control thousands of wireless patents said to be worth an estimated $1 billion. Clearly, there are people willing to pay big bucks to own Nortel’s intellectual property as a shield from infringement lawsuits.”

Zibreg reports, “Should Apple get them, the company could theoretically seek royalties from everyone else in the industry while creating a disincentive for others to sue Apple, to paraphrase Google’s counsel. This might be especially unpleasant for Android handset makers, as Google’s open-sourced software is said to be a patent bomb waiting to explode.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. It like everything else in the tech world high risk high reward.
    Since it a Canadian company buying up a Canadian company will it be done in Canadian dollars which worth more US green back.

  2. This is why Apple has chosen to maintain such a large financial coffer to go after opportunities such as this. This is the forward thinking view that Apple continues to have and instill in its strategies and that the myopic, for the most part, independent financial/investment analyst continually fail to understand.

  3. Will RIM use these patents to develop and bring out new devices? No. They’ll just sit back and wait until they can sue someone for patent violation. It’s the new technology. Don’t innovate, sue them.

  4. Apple will buy the Nortel patent portfolio if it makes fiscal sense to do so. There might not be much gold mixed in with the dross. Just because you have over $60B doesn’t mean that you should waste it. The current Apple management team has proven to be highly conservative and prudent with respect to major expenditures and acquisitions.

  5. Nortel existed for years as a Canadian government-owned money pit, before it was turned loose to become an independent and inefficient disaster. With all that IP, I don’t recall them ever making a profit. If they couldn’t wring value out of those patents, I’m not sure Apple would want to pay over $1B. I can see Google and the others justifying it to try to protect their vulnerable existing projects. By “vulnerable” it is to say they didn’t create, they copied.

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