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Telecoms patent portfolio auctioned for £2.8bn

4 July 2011

The heat looks set to intensify in the telecoms industry as it was announced last week that a consortium of six telecoms companies including Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Research In Motion, Ericsson, and EMC successfully bid against Google and Intel to acquire a portfolio of more than 6,000 patents and patent applications relating to wireless and networking technology, including 4G, from bankrupt Canadian telecoms giant Nortel Networks. The final sale price was at least twice that anticipated.

Google began the bidding, expressing an interest in the portfolio as valuable protection for disputes, particularly relating to Smartphone technology and also Google’s android technology, already the subject of a $6.1bn damages claim from Oracle.

The deal still requires approval from the US and Canadian courts but with the consortium members having a reputation for an aggressive approach to patent litigation no doubt this portfolio will quickly find its way to court with hefty damages claims being asserted.

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