updated 03:40 pm EDT, Mon May 2, 2011
Google cleared for shadow bid on Nortel patents
Nortel on Monday said it had been given approval for its stalking horse bid on the bankrupt company's mobile patents. The clearance would set the minimum bid at $900 million. Bids from other companies were due on June 13 with the auction to take place June 20.
Google hasn't explicitly planned to win the auction itself or even to keep the price high on Nortel's behalf, like most stalking horse bids. It instead hoped to discourage easy attacks on Android or its hardware partners from companies that could afford to make a relatively cheap bid.
Patent trolls, or companies that have no meaningful income other than patent lawsuits, have been cited as one factor. Larger companies would be more difficult to stop, but the high bidding price could discourage companies like Apple and Microsoft, which have been using patent lawsuits against HTC, Barnes & Noble, and others as proxy attacks on Android.
Nortel's collection of patents is unusually powerful and includes both common 3G technology as well as LTE-based 4G.