Apple, Intel among bidders for Nortel patent trove

“Apple Inc., Intel Corp. and Ericsson AB are among the technology giants that will vie with Google Inc. to buy a trove of patents from the bankrupt Canadian telecom-equipment maker, Nortel Networks Corp., people familiar with the matter said,” Thomas Catan and Mike Spector report for The Wall Street Journal.

“Also accepted as a qualified bidder: RPX Corp., a San Francisco, Calif., firm that defensively buys up patents on behalf of other companies to stop them from being used against them by investors,” Catan and Spector report. “Google already received antitrust clearance from the U.S. Justice Department for its bid, according to people familiar with the matter. The delay in the auction date will allow other bidders a chance to advance their own discussions with Justice, those people said, potentially eroding Google’s advantage due to the antitrust clearance.”

Catan and Spector report, “The trove of 6,000 patents cover key swaths of the high-tech world, including Wi-Fi, social networking and a fourth-generation wireless technology now being deployed called LTE. The Justice Department and many in the tech world are concerned that the winning bidder could potentially abuse the patents to hobble rivals… Apple and Intel have been accepted as separate qualified bidders and plan to compete for the patents at Nortel’s looming bankruptcy-court auction, said people familiar with the matter.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Nortel delays patent auction one week citing significant interest – June 16, 2011
RIM looks to outbid Apple, Google, and Nokia for Nortel’s patent treasure trove – April 18, 2011
Google bids $900 million for 6,000 Nortel telecom patents in quest to boost patent portfolio – April 4, 2011
Apple reportedly bidding for Nortel patent portfolio – December 13, 2010

16 Comments

    1. if they do secret bidding like MS for skype then you can lose the bid if you underestimate how high other bidders will shell out or like MS can over pay way more than anyone else. APple may have &) B but they aren’t gonna put it all on the table.

  1. Why not simply offer to buy out the whole of Nortel? Can’t possibly be worth all that much. Then sell off all the bits as separate parts just as they are doing now.

    Apple just paid Nokia approx 1B for a few crummy patents.

    1. Do you not know anything about bankruptcy procedure?

      Nortel has outstanding creditors to whom it owes money. The bankruptcy courts will make sure those creditors are paid as much as possible of what they are owed. The way to raise the most money is to sell the most valuable pieces, like these patents. There are parts of Nortel that are worthless, or have negative value. No one wants those. Nortel will be left with those to dispose of as it winds down its operations.

      1. This is Apple’s Epic Mealtime. There are still sizeable chunks of meat left out of the entire cow’s carcass to make a humongous beef & bacon sandwich but they wouldn’t want to consume the offal and rotting parts of the carcass. 

        By picking the choosiest pieces of the patent portfolio they won’t have to discard the offal which is left behind for the vultures to fight over and swallow, which in this case would be the banks that extended Nortel credit facilities before it went under.

    2. Buy out all of Nortel and you also get all of Nortel’s liabilities, both known and unknown (think lawsuits that have not been filed yet because statutes of limitation have not run). Plus, you then get operations, facilities and employees you wanted nothing to with, and have costs with shutting them down, selling them off, or whatever.

      Nortel in in bankruptcy not because the market drastically changed on it or other outside factors, but because Nortel’s a mess. Apple (or anyone else) wants nothing to do with that.

    3. I admit I was being lazy……hoping people would know what I meant. It’s obviously too late now, but why the scramble now for Nortel IP when they (Apple et al) could have bought Nortel just prior to bankruptcy. It couldn’t have been worth all that much then…considering these patents alone could exceed that market cap pre bankruptcy. Not to mention the worth of the OTHER patents that Ericsson bought last year for about $900mil.

      Granted you would have to pickup all the worthless parts……such as payroll for workforce, redundancy payouts medical support etc etc.

      Now it’s a fight between several 8000 pound gorillas. A fight like that can easily get out of hand and approach Nortels pre bankruptcy market cap.

      Lesson for me: Be precise on message boards or be ready to repost what you should have posted in the first place.

      1. Still being lazy? Why buy the whole Company and be straddled with trying to run it (Microsoft).

        Even worse, PR, buy it and sell off pieces only to keep the IP. Apple spends a lot of time cultivating it’s reputation, and going in like a bunch of corporate raiders and selling off pieces is not the reputation Steve Jobs has spent decades cultivating.

        1. By the way, when Apple loses the patents to Google and ends up paying google royalties then come back and be sure to tell us how much Apple lost. Because it wont be the price of the patents that google paid at the auction. It’ll be far far more and for years to come.

          Once in a blue moon something like this comes up and you got to get it even if it comes with worthless baggage.

  2. Of course MS is the worst at evaluation companies assets and values but next is Gaggle. You watch, Gaggle will bid almost double everyone else.

    Damn, I hate going to auctions with amateurs.

  3. I bet whoever wins is going to use them to both fend off other companies and seek licensing fees. The cost to win will be so high it will only make sense.

    Im sure google wants them for defense before anything. Goog is going through a phase like sun microsystems went through years ago. They now see that a lack of patents is a vulnerability

  4. Your phone belongs to you!!! You will have the option to turn of INFRA RED stream. Just like you can turn off WiFi and 3G.

    Apple is NOT going to give away your rights.

  5. (1) During one of the previous earning calls, did Mr. Steve Jobs mentioned that Apple is going to make 1 or 2 strategic acquisition? In addition to the pre-payment for “parts” from suppliers, I truly hope that this will another Apple’s “strategic acquisition” and Apple will use their $$ to bid Nortel’s IPs wisely.

    (2) I thought Apple and other companies form a separate entity so that they can bid and share the awarded Nortel IPs.

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