A group including Apple, Research In Motion, Microsoft, Ericsson and Sony has paid $4.5 billion to snatch Nortel Networks’ patents from under the noses of Google and Intel. The winning bid was five times larger than the initial “stalking horse” offer of $900 million made in April by Google.
The price was about three times what the sale had been expected to raise, underlining the defensive value of intellectual property in the telecoms world, where established players are seeking to keep out newer rivals, reports Reuters.
FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller after Nortel announced the results of the sale late Thursday. In January Mueller called Android a “suit magnet,” and subsequent events have proved him right. “There are already 45 patent infringement lawsuits surrounding Android, and makers of Android-based devices have to pay royalties to dozens of right holders.”
Bankrupt 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.
Toronto-based Nortel reiterated that it did not expect shareholders to receive any value from the sale, part of its creditor protection proceedings, and said it expected equity interests to be canceled as a result of the proceedings.