Consortium including Apple and RIM wins $4.5bn patent auction


Consortium of six firms buys intellectual property from bankrupt Nortel likely to help in ongoing patent wars between smartphone and tablet makers, but Google and Intel lose out

A consortium including Apple, Microsoft and Research In Motion (RIM) has bought patents held by bankrupt Canadian firm Nortel Networks Corp.

The firms paid $4.5 billion (£2.8 billion) for the patents, which will help the firms in the increasingly common disputes over the intellectual property behind smartphones and tablets.

The consortium, which also included Sony Corp, EMC and Ericsson, beat rivals Google and Intel in a multi-day auction.

Google, which as a relatively young company holds fewer patents than many of its rivals, had originally bid $900 million for the patents. However, both the internet search giant and chipmaker Intel eventually lost out to the consortium.

Research In Motion has revealed that it paid $770 million dollars for its share of the patents. Any income from licensing of the patents to other firms is likely to be split among the consortium partners based on the size of their contributions.

Nortel chief strategy officer and business units president George Riedel said: “Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio.

“The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world.”