Several media outlets, including Bloomberg, have reported that a consortium of bidding companies has purchased the 6,000 patents that Nortel began auctioning off this past Monday as part of its bankruptcy. The winning bid came in at a whopping $4.5 billion, leaving Google’s “stalking horse” bid of $900 million in the dust.
The consortium included Apple, Microsoft, Ericsson, EMC Corp., Sony, and Research in Motion; it notably did not include Intel and Google. A Reuters report relates that RIM will contribute $770 million and Ericsson $340 million; who would pay what of the remaining amount was unclear. We had wondered in an earlier post, Nortel Auction: Will Google Become the Next Big Patent Troll?, whether the Internet search giant, or another victor in the auction, would utilize the patents for patent troll-like litigation. That seems unlikely now.
What is not in doubt, however, is the enormous value of patents in the world economy. Consider that the $4.5 billion was more than what Nortel received for selling off all its other assets combined.
Courts in Delaware and Ontario will have the final say on the bidding on July 11.