|Microsoft is part of a consortium that is paying $4.5 billion for a slew of patents from Nortel Networks, a Canadian networking company trying to come out of bankruptcy. |
Pending U.S. and Canadian court approval, the proud new owners of more than 6,000 patents and patent applications – on wireless, networking, optical, voice, Internet, semiconductor and other technologies – also include Apple, EMC, Sony, Ericsson and Research in Motion. But perhaps more important is what company lost the bid during an auction spanning several months.
“No major industry player is as needy in terms of patents as Google,” patent expert Florian Mueller wrote in an email to seattlepi.com. “There are already 45 patent infringement lawsuits surrounding Android and makers of Android-based devices have to pay royalties to dozens of right holders. Just this week Microsoft announced that three more Android device makers, in addition to HTC, are already paying royalties on Google’s Android to Microsoft.”
In April, Google bid $900 million for the Nortel patents – one-fifth of the final selling price – to begin the “stalking horse” auction. After seeing considerable interest from other companies, Nortel decided to wait to hear more offers.