Microsoft concerned over Nortel patent sale to Google

By Tom Warren, on 14th Jun 11 1:35 pm with 14 Comments

Microsoft objected to the sale of bankrupt Nortel Networks patents on Monday.

The software giant claims Google should not be able to purchase thousands of Nortel patents under the current sale terms. Reuters news agency reports that Microsoft filed documents with a Delaware bankruptcy court on Monday. Microsoft says it has a “worldwide, royalty-free license to all of Nortel’s patents” after securing a deal with the company in 2006.

Google is bidding $900 million for more than 6,000 patents. Microsoft didn’t need to bid for the patents thank to its patent cross-license deal signed with Nortel in 2006. Microsoft’s objection was clear in the court documents submitted on Monday. The proposed sale “would result in considerable disruption in the development and enhancement of various existing technologies and give the prospective purchaser an unfair competitive advantage,” said Microsoft, reports Bloomberg.

Microsoft issued the following statement on Monday:

“Microsoft wants any new owners of the Nortel patents to be subject to Nortel’s existing commitments to Standards Setting Organizations and to Microsoft. By making this filing, Microsoft preserves its ability to raise this issue with the bankruptcy court in the event the final buyer of the Nortel assets seeks to disclaim any of these commitments.”

Nortel filed for bankruptcy in January 2009. The Canadian phone-equipment maker agreed to sell the patents to Google for $900 unless a higher bid is accepted in an auction later this month. Nortel’s patents include rights to control and license technologies like wireless-video. Nortel also held an auction for 666,624 IPv4 addresses recently. Microsoft submitted the highest bid valued at $7.5 million. The figure works out to $11.25 per IP address.

  • Keno Butler

    ooh so its a precautionary measure…

  • Not ice_fusion.

    Is Microsoft not allowed to buy the patents themselves or something? It seems fairly inexpensive at $900.

    • Anonymous

      Due to the fact that they had a licensing deal, under the new seller, it would have to honor the Microsoft licensing deal.

      Microsoft had apparently joined other companies like Apple etc to buy the patents initially but under the conditions for these patents to be sold to all of the companies, Microsoft was asked to pull out of it.

      I am not sure how this was worked out though, and unfortunately I can’t seem to find a link elsewhere. Ill go link hunting in a few mins

    • Guest

      I don’t know if that’s true. Nortel went bankrupt. It’s unclear whether agreements signed prior to that continue on indefinitely.

    • Avatar X

      Ninja1043 summary of what happened is correct.

  • Dhaoracle

    Yes i think that they are trying to keep Google out until they have made up their mind on whether or not they would like to buy Nortel out for 1 Billion since now Google can’t do nothing with the bid they put up.

  • Translatethis27

    Let Google buy the patents, it is the best thing for us consumers …

    • MVIM

      It’s not bad enough Google is spying on 40+% of smartphone users with Android and 60% of Internet users with its search engine; let’s give Google patents to lock out competitors and let them spy on us all. If Microsoft was bidding on these patents and Google raised an issue with it, I’m sure you all would be complaining about Microsoft’s supposed “attempt” to monopolize the markets that these patents serve.

    • Rhaimus Gothspun

      Why is this the best thing for us consumers? Why do people have this image of being this company for the people? They are no different than Microsoft or Apple.

  • Heroes Certificados

    There’s an error on the last paragraph. It says that the patents will be sold for $900. That’s a little cheap, don’t you think? :P

    • Stinky Peterson

      Heck, at that price I should buy it! Lol!

  • Pat Hart

    900 million… Microsoft all fair in love and gives more stuff for free let them have it…

  • IPR

    $900 million for more than 6,000 patents! It shows that Microsoft can do anything to compete Google…

  • IPR

    $900 million for more than 6,000 patents! It shows that Microsoft can do anything to compete Google…