Google in prime position to snaffle Nortel's treasures

By Gareth Morgan
05 Apr 2011 View Comments

Google is planning a $900m (£554m) raid on patents belonging to stricken telecoms vendor Nortel, as it seeks to protect Chrome and Android software from rivals’ attacks.

Bankrupt Nortel will auction off its patents this June and has selected Google as its ‘stalking horse’ bidder.

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If no other bidder emerges, Google will gain the rights to Nortel’s portfolio of more than 6,000 patents, which cover aspects of 3G and 4G mobile technologies, as well as data and optical networking.

Google claims it wants the patents to protect its software from patent attacks from rivals.

“We hope this portfolio will not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community – which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome – continue to innovate,” wrote Kent Walker, general council for Google in a company blog post.

Under the stalking horse agreement, Google stands to pocket $25m (£15m) if another company wins the auction.

The patents are Nortel's last remaining asset of any significance, having already raised $3bn (£1.8bn) in firesales.

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