Saturday, 23 July 2011

AAI Asks Federal Agencies to Investigate Nortel Patent Sale

The American Antitrust Institute is asking federal regulators to investigate the purchase of Nortel patents by a group that includes Apple, Microsoft and Sony. The American Antitrust Institute believes that the sale of the patents possibly imply a collusion against Google’s Android operating system.

The group, calling itself Rockstar Bidco, comprises Apple, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research in Motion, Sony and EMC. The group spent more than $4.5 billion, and outbid Google, to win the entire portfolio of Nortel patents. There are more than 6,000 patents included in the portfolio, most of them involving wireless technology, social networking and search technologies. It is a huge amount to spend on patents, and California patent infringement lawyers believe that it was the potential for insurance against future litigation, that was the driving force behind the group's bid.

Antitrust advocates have been concerned about the sale, because it is possible that improper business practices were at work here. The group, which consists solely of Google’s rivals, can use these patents to attack the Android operating system. There is also the fear that having access to the portfolio of Nortel patents also provides these companies a defense against potential patent infringement lawsuits in the future, giving them a possibly unfair advantage. None of the members of the group, with the exception of Sony, support the Android operating system.

Google is also concerned about the sale of the patent portfolio to the group. Google's initial bid for the patents was $900 million, and the patents ultimately sold for more than five times that amount. It indicates the high value of these patents for search and networking, 4G and other wireless technologies. The amount of money involved in this sale indicates their importance to Los Angeles patent litigation lawyers, especially in the volatile and litigious environment that currently exists in the tech industry.

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