Nortel Networks, the defunct Canadian telecommunications equipment maker, says it has agreed to sell more than 6,000 patent assets to an alliance made up of Apple, Microsoft and other technology giants for $4.5 billion in cash.
The group of companies, which also includes Research in Motion, Sony, Ericsson and EMC, beat out Google and Intel for the patents and patent applications that Nortel had accumulated when it was still one of the largest telecommunications equipment makers in North America.
The decline of Nortel is quite remarkable. The company was one of the first firms to develop advanced wireless data and internet routing technologies, but couldn't capitalize on them in the marketplace, eventually going bankrupt. The breadth and depth of their patent portfolio relating to the fast-growing mobile networking industry is staggering, which explains the multi-billion dollar bids.
Google will probably end up paying significant royalties on these patents.
tags: invention, innovation, patents, business, mobile, competition, portfolio