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BlackBerry to bid for Nortel patents to stop Google

Tuesday April 19, 2011 10:18:50 AM, IANS

Toronto: Though Research In Motion (RIM) here has not confirmed it, reports say the BlackBerry maker is planning to bid for thousands of wireless technology patents belonging to failed telecom giant Nortel. Earlier this month, Google offered $900 million to buy about 6,000 Nortel patents. RIM will have to bid at least up to $926 million, according to auction rules. If the BlackBerry maker or other players enter the bidding process, auction will take June 20.

Nortel's patent inventory has been estimated to be worth about $1 billion.

The 129-year-old Canadian telecom giant's accumulated problems - from the bubble burst to internal accounting scandal to the current meltdown - forced it to seek bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada January 2009.

After this, Nortel has been selling off its various businesses to pay its debtors. It has so far raised about $3 billion by selling its next-generation wireless business to Sweden's Ericsson for $1.13 billion, its enterprise division to America's Avaya Inc. for $900 million, and its optical networking and carrier Ethernet business to the US network specialist Ciena Corp for $769 million.

It is now selling its last remaining asset of about 6,000 patents related to cutting-edge, next-generation wire technology.

The patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking, according Nortel.

RIM, which was shut out of the bidding process for Nortel's wireless business in 2009, doesn't want Google to get its hands on these patents and patent applications.

Since Nortel-patented technology is used in RIM's BlackBerry, Apple's iPhone and Google Android smart phones, the buyer of these patents will gain the rights to license this technology to secure royalties and market influence.

The Google offer for Nortel patents assumes significance as the Internet search engine giant is entering other areas, including telecom, as devices running on its Android operating system are fast snatching market from Apple, RIM, Nokia and Microsoft.

Once the world's top telecom company, Nortel employed 90,000 people worldwide at its peak.






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