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Nortel today announced that it has officially completed the $4.5 billion sale of over 6,000 patents to a consortium of companies led by Apple. The proposed sale had previously passed muster with both bankruptcy courts and Canadian regulatory authorities, and antitrust concerns regarding the bidding process appear to have also been satisfied.

Nortel Networks Corporation announced that it,its subsidiary Nortel Networks Limited (NNL), and certain of its other subsidiaries, including Nortel Networks Inc. and Nortel Networks UK Limited (in administration), have completed the sale of all of Nortel's remaining patents and patent applications to a consortium consisting of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion and Sony, for a cash purchase price of US$4.5 billion.

As previously announced, the sale includes more than 6,000 patents and patent applications spanning wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patents. The extensive patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking.

Apple last week revealed that it had contribution $2.6 billion to the total purchase price and it has been claimed that Apple's stake entitles it to outright ownership of the LTE-related patents as well as others that could be used to hinder Android.

Update: The Wall Street Journal reports that even though Nortel has announced the completion of the patent sale, U.S. antitrust regulators are continuing their investigation of the Apple-led consortium.

The Justice Department is interviewing consortium members on whether they have plans to file patent infringement suits against handset makers using Google's Android software, those people said. They are also talking to others that could be adversely affected.

The deal closed on Friday but Justice could still impose conditions on the parties. In April, the department forced a consortium of companies including Microsoft, Apple and Oracle Corp. to promise not to use a portfolio of patents it had acquired to unfairly hurt rivals. Microsoft was forced to give up the patents it was buying and license them instead.

The U.S. Department of Justice is said to be looking to determine whether an implicit or explicit agreement exists among the consortium members to use the patents to hinder Google's Android platform.

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