Apple consortium wins $4.5 billion Nortel patent trove auction; Google, Intel lose bidding battle

“A group including Apple and Research In Motion has paid $4.5 billion to snatch Nortel Networks’ patents from under the noses of Google and Intel , stealing a march on their rivals in a litigious market,” Renju Jose and Georgina Prodhan report for Reuters.

MacDailyNews Take: Boom!

“Nortel had put up for sale 6,000 patents and patent applications in the largest public sale of its kind, a potential treasure trove for latecomers to the market such as Apple, Google and Intel,” Jose and Prodhan report. “The price was about three times what the sale had been expected to raise, underlining the defensive value of intellectual property in the fast-changing telecoms world, where established players are seeking to keep out newer rivals.”

Jose and Prodhan report, “The winning parties — the others are Microsoft, EMC, Ericsson and Sony — are expected to share the patents to maximise their scope to pursue patent litigation, though they did not disclose details… Google, the newest major entrant to the mobile market, with its three-year-old Android software platform, has a weak patent portfolio compared with telecoms rivals and will now be more vulnerable to lawsuits from the auction winners.”

MacDailyNews Take: Patent infringement is a crime. Crime is evil.

Jose and Prodhan report, “The search engine market leader had opened the bidding in April with a $900 million stalking-horse bid, and had been expected to be a winner.”

MacDailyNews Take: Wah-wah-wah-waaahhh.

Jose and Prodhan report, “BlackBerry maker Research in Motion will pay $770 million of the purchase consideration, and Ericsson will pay $340 million. The other parties did not immediately say what their share would be… Richard Windsor, global technology specialist at Nomura Securities [said] ‘And then the consortium will go out and seek to make a return by prosecuting the other people, particularly the Android camp.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: No way Jobs was letting Google rip off Apple again.

Related articles:
Intel gets antitrust approval to bid on Nortel patents – June 24, 2011
Apple gets U.S. antitrust approval to bid for Nortel patent trove – June 23, 2011
Apple, Intel among bidders for Nortel patent trove – June 17, 2011
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


      1. Regretfully, Google didn’t really lose anything. Rather, they decided that it will be cheaper to develop work-arounds, negotiate cross licensing deals and/or pay licensing fees.

        1. @warbux:

          (1) can’t easily develop a workaround for the LTE patents,
          (2) tough to negotiate cross-licensing deals when your patent portfolio is lame, and
          (3) tough to pay licensing deals when your operating system is given away for free.

          Methinks you trivialize Google’s dilemma too much.


  1. Apple’s decision to join a consortium of mobile has-beens like Microsoft, RIM and Sony was genius and to get them to foot part of the blll shows why Apple is at the top of its game. Apple knows these aforementioned clowns will be dead in the mobile space within 5 years so there would never be a need to ever sue one of them do why not let them be in the consortium? Masterful.

    1. agreed. It also lessens the possibility of a blocked purchase by the fed on grounds of unfair/ monopolistic practice. Brilliant move indeed.

    1. Apple didn’t steel Kodak’s patents.

      It appears as though — from past and recent rulings — that the courts are in the process of declaring those particular Kodak patents as being invalid in and of themselves. That’s not Apple’s doing really. It was Kodak filing for stupid patents they should not have and the USPTO issuing patents they never should have.

    2. Steal are you nuts? Kodak patented the concept of taking an image from a motion preview. Key parts of this so-called innovation involves a “capture button”, aka a shutter. A sensor chip. Memory. A display. Etc. Yep, that’s some serious innovation. The first ALJ, Admin Law Judge, said that this innovation was invalid due to OBVIOUSNESS.

  2. $4.5 BILLION. Wow! 6000 patents. That’s an average of $750,000 per patent! They better be some really GOOD ideas.

    Since each party in the “consortium” is contributing a different amount, I wonder how they each is able to draw value from collective “trove” of patents.

  3. “A group including Apple and Research In Motion has paid $4.5 billion to snatch Nortel Networks’ patents from under the noses of Google and Intel , stealing a march”

    I wish they’d “steal” some patents from me, and give me $4.5B.

  4. I am all for folks having a differing point of view and being able to put it out there, but you might want to think twice about exposing your uh… lack of grasp on reality

    1. ok… the previous was a reply comment on a post by an apparent troll, Marco. Is MDN in the habit of pulling posts like his or was he guilty of other offenses?

  5. actually seems pretty lame
    what happened to innovating?
    more focus on innovating and less on buying already-invented things
    I bet 90% of those patents can not be defended that well anyways

  6. A few weeks ago I called the winning bid to be about $5 Billion. I wished for a consortium as well, as that would be the best of the world even if it included Google, as that would effectively nullify the patent’s litigating value between the partners. But this deal leaving Google out is such a sweet blow.

    On a different note, I know RIM CEO considered these patents to be national treasure and wanted to defend them. But spending $700 Million seems a bit too high for a company lacking a clear cut mobile vision/future right now.

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