updated 03:35 pm EST, Thu December 9, 2010
Nortel patent bidding attracts Apple, Google, RIM
A patent selloff by struggling Canadian tech firm Nortel Networks could see Apple, Google or RIM buy patents that tip the balance in their favor, a leak asserted on Thursday. Sales of 3G and LTE-based 4G patents are due to wrap up within weeks and could see the phone makers, along with Motorola, buy at least some of the patents to use either for products or for lawsuits. The Reuters sources couldn't get confirmation except from InterDigital, which files frequent lawsuits against phone makers.
The patents are reportedly divided into six different groups of related technologies and wouldn't likely be acquired all by one company. Most have already been sold, though the tipsters couldn't identify who was involved.
All of the phone designers involved in bidding have a significant stake in mobile patents and have been engaged in multiple lawsuits over the technology. Many are concerned most about Nokia, which claims to own part of the patents involved in 3G and thus that every 3G phone maker owes it royalties. Apple is trying to countersue Nokia and claims Nokia's patents aren't valid.
Both Apple and RIM are targeted by a Kodak lawsuit, and both Apple and Microsoft have been suing Motorola in an attempt to slow down Android. Motorola has already sued Microsoft itself with an aim to throttle Windows and the Xbox.