Google bids $900M for Nortel patent portfolio

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is bidding US$900 million in cash for thousands of patents that Nortel will auction off as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, the companies said Monday.

The proposed deal is what’s known as a “stalking horse” asset sale agreement, where the Google offer sets the minimum bar for other bidders for the portfolio of about 6,000 patents and patent applications, which cover a broad range of telecommunications, Internet search and social networking technologies.

Nortel expects the agreement to receive approval from U.S. and Canadian courts in June, after which the bidding will open for the intellectual property portfolio that “touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications,” Nortel said in a statement.

The telecommunications technologies covered in the patent portfolio include wireless, 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, service provider and semiconductors, Nortel said.

Meanwhile, Google said that it is bidding for the Nortel portfolio to defend itself against patent litigation and to boost its technology innovation, specifically in its Android mobile platform and Chrome OS and browser.

“If successful, 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,” Kent Walker, senior vice president and general counsel, said in a blog post.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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