Nortel Patents Sold for $4.5 Billion to Consortium Which Includes Apple
that they had concluded an auction to sell of its patents and patent applications to a consortium consisting of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony. The final winning bid was $4.5 billion and includes over 6,000 patents and patent applications covering wireless, 4G, networking optical, voice internet, semiconductors and more.
"Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio", said George Riedel, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Business Units, Nortel. "The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world."
We had previously reported that Apple had been interested in buying up the patents off Nortel Networks which had filed for bankruptcy in 2009. The interest in the portfolio was significant due to the broad reach of the patents, especially in the area of wireless networking and LTE technology. Google was also said to be one of the early interested parties by placing an opening bid of $900 million on the patents.
One research firm has estimated that there are 105 patent families deemed essential to deployment of LTE (4G) technology, with Nokia controlling 57 of those families. Ericsson is said to control 14 families, while Nortel, Qualcomm, and Sony are each reported to control about seven families. The companies that are part of the winning bid will presumably provide access to these patents to those companies.
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Top Rated Comments
This outcome is disappointing for anyone who believes that open innovation benefits users and promotes creativity and competition,
Google's hypocrisy goes to 11.
Nokia has its own ammunition. Google, on the other hand....
It's still against anti-trust laws to withhold a group of patents vital to an industry.
That's why the government had a little talk with Apple before they bid in the auction. All the other companies have a long history of licensing patents. Apple does not.
I also suspect this auction is involved with why Apple made a deal for Nokia licenses so suddenly. I think they were showing the government that they could play nice and/or it was a requirement to be a consortium member.
Bankruptcy in its purest form is having less assets than liabilities. The fact that you own a patent doesnt mean that you are actually earning money for a start. You could have the patent on cold fusion but not earning any money as no-one might be licensing the patent.
Also in terms of bankruptcy - the value attributed to the patent asset might be a lot less than the amount paid at this point. Think of it as a fire sale - for bankruptcy purposes they might value the patent a lot lower than it was eventually sold for.
Finally - although they got $4.5Bn for the patents - they might have had $10Bn in liabilities...