Last year, Apple, Microsoft, EMC, RIM, Sony, and others banded together to win a $4.5 billion bid for more than 6,000 patents from bankrupt network equipment maker Nortel. The group, called "Rockstar Consortium" says it has received final approval from the US Department of Justice for the acquisition of the patents.
Among others, antitrust regulators from the Federal Trade Commission, Canadian authorities, and Nortel's bankruptcy court have previously signed off on the purchase. Just after the purchase last year, it was rumored that Apple had contributed more than half of the total purchase -- $2.6 billion -- and received outright ownership of a number of the key patents in Nortel's portfolio, with the other companies in the consortium receiving licensed rights to the patents.
Now that the legal hurdles are out of the way, Rockstar says it will "implement its plans to pursue licensing agreements with companies that are harnessing its intellectual property.” In other words, expect more patent-related lawsuits.