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Consortium That Bought Nortel Now Seeks Royalties

A consortium of companies that purchased assets from the former Nortel Networks Corp. now plans to monetize its intellectual property.

A waiting period specified by the U.S. Department of Justice for the Nortel deal to be completed has expired, according to Rockstar Consortium, in a released statement. Rockstar, which consists of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion and Sony -- all with different investment stakes -- was the winning bidder for Nortel's assets back in late June.

"We are pleased to emerge from this review process, and are looking forward to working with technology related companies to provide them with access to Rockstar's technology," stated John Veschi, Rockstar's CEO. He formerly served as Nortel's chief intellectual property officer.

Google was the first company to offer a bid for Nortel's intellectual property. It's estimated that Google offered $900 million, but the company later backed away. Rockstar won the bid by putting up $4.5 billion for about 4,000 patents, the consortium claims. The intellectual property coverage represented by the acquisition includes communications, Internet and networking technologies. Nortel was a pioneering Canadian telecom equipment company with a long history spanning about 116 years.

At the time of the Nortel assets acquisition, Google complained that the winning bidder, Rockstar, would stifle "open innovation." Google subsequently announced the purchase of some patents from IBM in July and is currently awaiting judicial approvals to complete its purchase of Motorola Mobility. U.S. and European authorities already approved Google's Motorola Mobility bid.

It's thought that Google is attempting to bolster its patent portfolio as a legal strategy to resist patent litigation from Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. Apple and Microsoft allege intellectual property violations over the use of the Android mobile operating system, which Google helped to foster. Oracle is suing Google over Java intellectual property violation claims.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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