Nortel Patent Sale to Apple and Others Approved

This image described by Apple, RIM, Sony, Microsoft, EMC, Nortel, Patent, Ericsson, Nortel]

Apple, Microsoft and RIM along with EMC Corp, Ericsson Telephone Co. and Sony Corp., have all been approved by the courts in the US and Canada to purchase patents related to wireless devices from the bankrupt Nortel for $4.5 billion.

The patents and applications number 6,000. The six companies that bid on the patents as Rockstar Bidco LP and the auction was called, "record breaking in terms of this case and in the patent industry generally," by Lisa Schweitzer of Clearly Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, which represents Nortel.

The original $900 million bid by Google seemed like a large purchase at first, and it could have meant better things for them given that Android device makers are often sued for patent infringement. It's even something Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said last year when he mentioned in an interview that Android is not free, and that patent licensing costs come with it.

According to analysts, the real plan isn't that far off. Those six companies may use the newly-held patents to sue other smartphone makers. Google, it's said, may be their prime target. This could push smartphone makers away from Android as the costs of licensing and lawsuits can stack up.

[Via Wall Street Journal]

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