Apple, Microsoft among Rockstar partners
The Rockstar Consortium -- a collection of companies including Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Sony, and Microsoft -- is planning to sell a portion of the $4.5 billion in patents it bought from Nortel Networks in 2011, sources tell Bloomberg. Rockstar is allegedly already in talks with potential buyers. Three of the sources indicate that this is because it hasn't had much success with large licensing deals.
Dunn, Beatty, Gollogly not guilty of financial misstatements
A Canadian court today acquitted three former executives from Nortel Networks on charges they had misstated Nortel's financial results from 2000 to 2004. Frank Dunn, Douglas Beatty, and Michael Gollogly -- Nortel's former chief executive, chief financial officer, and corporate controller -- were accused of misstating the company's earnings over the four year period and benefiting to the tune of 12.8 million Canadian dollars ($13 million) between them in bonuses. The men had faced up to 10 years in prison over the charges.
Taken out of pool of 4,000-pus patents won by Rockstar coalition
Apple, which led a coalition of tech companies including Microsoft, Sony, Ericsson and RIM to outbid Google in order to win thousands of former Nortel tech patents, has been revealed to have transferred more than 1,000 of the patents over to its own exclusive control, AppleInsider reports. A report from a Korean property-rights regulator revealed the transactions, which has transferred a total of 1,350 patents to members of the Rockstar consortium, the vast majority of which have gone to Apple.
DOJ next to OK Google-Motorola and adds Nortel
The US Department of Justice in a brief said it had approved both Google's acquisition of Motorola, the joint purchase of Nortel patents by Apple, Microsoft, RIM, and others, as well as a similar Novell patent sale. Antitrust regulators in both cases had decided it was "unlikely" that the deals would hurt competition. It was partly reassured by Apple, Google, and Microsoft all promising to license standards-based patents based on FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms.
Google tries to counter patent wars with more IBM
Google has quietly escalated its attempts to mount a defense for Android by getting more IBM patents. An acquisition recorded December 30 gave Google 217 more active and pending patents primarily focused on cellphones, mobile web browsers, and voice search. Among the examples are a patent for a "computer phone," another for a method of resizing websites for mobile, and a third for voice-based keyword searches.
Kodak hints likely to sell patents off
Kodak on Tuesday mentioned that it was seeing very strong interest after raising the possible selloff of its patents. The "phone started to ring" almost immediately afterwards and had led to a significant number already having signed non-disclosure agreements for secret negotiations. While CEO Antonio Perez wouldn't name customers, he told Bloomberg that Kodak wanted a deal with cash up front as well as a pact that let it keep a license to use the primarily phone-focused camera technology that it would otherwise be giving away.
Kodak considers selling patents to stay alive
Insiders disclosed late Wednesday that Kodak had started the process of courting companies to sell its camera-related patents. Bankers at Lazard have been shopping the 1,100-strong patent collection around to see if companies are interested. Buyers weren't mentioned by name, but one identified by the WSJ is a "large, strategic buyer in the wireless industry" that would snap up the patents for "defensive protection," according to a source.
Google asks USPTO to invalidate Lodsys patents
Google has at last taken steps to try and protect Android developers from the wide-ranging Lodsys lawsuit, the company's general counsel Kent Walker stated Saturday. The company has asked the USPTO to reexamine the validity of two patents for in-app purchases that "should never have been issued," according to Walker. The approach described to Wired would either narrow the scope of the complaints or invalidate the patents entirely, likely forcing Lodsys to either limit the reach of lawsuits or toss them out entirely.
Google says Microsoft offer on Nortel bid a trap
Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond updated his criticism of the Nortel and Novell patent bid to rebuff Microsoft's claims that it had thrown out a chance at patents by turning down an invitation to the Novell bid. He accused Microsoft of diversionary tactics and said that the offer to join on Novell was an effective trap. If Google had joined the group, it couldn't use those patents to defend itself or others from anti-Android lawsuits, the very goal Microsoft wanted to achieve by bidding in the first place.
Microsoft says Google could have joined patent bid
(Update: evidence) Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith claimed on Wednesday night that Google had actively turned down a chance to join the Novell wireless patent bid. Responding to a very critical Google open letter accusing Apple and Microsoft of trying to stifle innovation through the bidding and their patent lawsuits, Smith said Google had been offered a chance to bid as a partner. The Android designer had turned it down and effectively sacrificed the patents to its rivals.
Claims 'hostile' campaign against Android
Google senior VP and chief legal officer David Drummond has published an open letter criticizing the rush on patents in the mobile industry. "Android is on fire," he writes. "More than 550,000 Android devices are activated every day, through a network of 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers. Android and other platforms are competing hard against each other, and thatís yielding cool new devices and amazing mobile apps for consumers. But Androidís success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents."
Nortel patent deal closes but under DOJ heat
Nortel on Friday completed its selloff of patents to an Apple-led coalition but faced a much tougher Department of Justice investigation into antitrust issues. What the new steps involved wasn't certain, although it's likely to focus more closely on whether the group, which also included Microsoft, RIM, and Sony, planned a patent lawsuit campaign or would use the patents solely as a defensive measure. The WSJ sources blamed Apple's involvement in the group and the very high $4.5 billion winning bid as red flags.
Google buys 1,030 IBM patents in first defense
Google showed its first signs of becoming serious about patent defense with a discovery that it had bought 1,030 patents from IBM. The company quietly took on the intellectual property on July 12 and 13. Many are focused on web search, but others are clearly phone related and include chip and memory design, routers, servers, and others.
Makes company single largest buyer
Apple's portion of the Nortel patent buyout on June 27th was worth $2.6 billion, says UBS analyst Maynard Um. The information comes from Apple's latest 10-Q filing, which was made public on Tuesday in parallel with its third-quarter results. As the buyout was worth about $4.5 billion in total, the figure makes Apple by far the largest partner of a consortium including companies like Sony, Microsoft and RIM.
Apple and Google mull buying InterDigital
Apple and Google are considering exploiting InterDigital's attempt to sell itself off to get the upper hand in their mobile patent disputes, a source divulged Wednesday. The two are candidates along with others to buy the company and get access to its 1,300 phone-related patents. It wasn't evident from Bloomberg sources how serious either side was or which if any was in the lead to win.
Canada won't look into $4.5b Nortel patent sale
Unlike the rumored investigation by the Department of Justice and the FTC of the recent Nortel patent buy, the Canadian government won't review it, the Industry Minister Christian Paradis said on Tuesday. While the Investment Canada Act requires foreign investments of more than $328 million must be reviewed, the book value of the $4.5 billion deal may be much lower, said a Tuesday report.
Apple-run group OK to buy Nortel's 6,000 patents
Nortel won quick clearance on Monday for its selloff of 6,000 patents. Both Canadian and US courts cleared the deal to the Apple-led Rockstar consortium that also includes Microsoft, RIM, and Sony, among others. It's not clear when the traansfer will take place.
Canada concerned Nortel patent sale breaks law
Canada's Industry Minister Christian Paradis said on Wednesday that his country would look into Nortel's sale of patents to an Apple-led coalition. The investigation will see if the auction has to be reviewed under the Investment Canada Act. The government must automatically review any deal worth $312 million CAD or more to see if it would benefit the country.
Apple key to winning Nortel bids
The consortium win in Nortel's auction was headed by Apple against a Google that was at times difficult to take seriously, uncovered details from the inside have shown. The group, nicknamed "Rockstar," led almost from the start and was facing off against just Google by the very end. After already reaching $3 billion, the two sides seen by Reuters' observer bid in $100 million increments up to $4 billion, where Google "tapped out" even after getting special permission to continue past an earlier $3 billion limit.
Apple, Google and Ericsson also potential suitors
Intel has reportedly received blessings from the Federal Trade Commission to acquire Nortel's patent portfolio, though the chip maker must outbid several competitors to secure the bankrupt company's intellectual property. The latest report corroborates earlier rumors, which pointed to a possible bidding war between Google, Intel, Apple, Ericsson, and RPX, a company that buys patents defensively to protect clients against patent trolls.
FTC approves Apple chance at buying Nortel patents
The FTC on Thursday gave the go-ahead to Apple participating in a Nortel patent auction. Confirming recent rumors, it determined that Apple's bids wouldn't pose a competitive threat. Concerns had existed that Apple might over-aggressively pursue lawsuits with the patents in tow, particularly against Android phone makers.
Apple and Intel cleared to bid on Nortel
Both Apple and Intel have been cleared to bid in Nortel's vital wireless patent auction, contacts slipped out on Friday. After investigations, both have been allowed to go ahead. Ericsson had also been greenlit, according to the Wall Street Journal, and was being accompanied by RPX, a proxy company that buys patents to avoid them being used against its clients.
Cites high interest in assets as reason
Bankrupt Nortel Networks has delayed the start of the auction for its 6,000 patents and patent applications from June 20 to June 27. The company gave the significant level of interest in these assets as the reason. The auction has attracted the focus of many technology leaders including Google and Microsoft.
DOJ gives OK to Google patent terms
The US Department of Justice has approved Google's controversial bid on Nortel's patents, sources mentioned Tuesday evening. Officials had told the WSJ that the Android maker's patent ownership wouldn't raise competitive issues and accepted its terms, which would let it end existing agreements if it won the $900 million bid. Microsoft had objected and wanted existing terms to carry over since it already claimed to have a complete, free license for all of Nortel's patents.
Microsoft opposes Nortel patent sale conditions
Microsoft in a last-minute filing objected to the terms set out for Nortel's patent sale after Google's $900 million bid. The Windows developer objected to terms of the "stalking horse" bid that let Google break existing licensing deals. Any patent deals had to remain enforceable and transfer to whichever company won a patent bid, Microsoft told the Delaware court.
DOJ tracking Apple bid on Nortel but skips Google
Sources revealed on Friday that the US Department of Justice was investigating the potential Apple bid in Nortel's wireless patent auction. Officials claimed that they were concerned about the consequences of giving the patents to the iPhone maker, who would get patents related to LTE-based 4G, Wi-Fi, and software features like search or wireless video. Apple had been trying to assuage officials, the tipsters told the Wall Street Journal.
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.
RIM may outbid Google for Nortel patents
RIM is contemplating outdoing Google's bid on Nortel patents in a move that could shake up the mobile business, according to tips. The sources had RIM considering spending more than Google's $900 million to get control of patents for 4G and wireless video. It was also contemplating the possibility of teaming up with other, unnamed companies if Bloomberg's sources proved true.
Google makes stalking horse bid on Nortel patents
Google on Monday said it had made a strategic bid on Nortel's patent sale to protect Android. A "stalking horse" bid chosen by Nortel has put a minimum price of $900 million and is meant to discourage patent trolls, as well as anti-Android rivals like Microsoft and Oracle, from making relatively casual bids that let them attack the mobile OS further. Patent law was broken, and either acquiring the patents or forcing the price up was the best way of discouraging lawsuits meant solely to keep a competitor down.
Nortel blocking RIM bids?
Research In Motion on Monday publicly accused Nortel of effectively blocking acquisition bids through technicalities placed on the terms. Nortel is in the process of offloading a number of its product divisions following financial troubles, while RIM is allegedly willing to pay approximately $1.1 billion for the CDMA and Long Term Evolution Access businesses, along with "certain other Nortel assets."
Ericsson announces cuts
Swedish network hardware maker Ericsson on Wednesday announced it will cut 5,000 worldwide jobs as its profits in the fourth quarter dropped by 31 percent, or about $202 million. The decline is said to be caused by restructuring charges and weaker handset sales, as its Sony Ericsson partnership last week announced its own fourth-quarter losses, shipping 6.2 percent less phones than in previous years. Ericsson said the joint venture had a fourth-quarter loss of $243 million.
Nortel 4x bandwidth tech
Canada's Nortel is deploying a new network technology, one which it claims will at least quadruple the current bandwidth of most telecom companies. Reuters notes that while most companies are able to handle 10Gbps on their networks -- enough for 1,000 HDTV channels -- Nortel's new optical scheme supports as much as 40Gbps, without dramatic upgrades to a network. With enough investment, Nortel suggests, companies may be able to boost throughput to 100Gbps.
Vonage, Nortel settle spat
Canada's Nortel is the latest to settle a patent dispute with VoIP carrier Vonage, Reuters reports. Unlike the company's recent legal problems, however, Vonage was in this case the originator, having inherited a 2004 lawsuit when it bought Digital Packet Licensing in 2006; in question were patents relating to 411 and 911 services, along with so-called "click-to-call" technology. Nortel filed a counterclaim earlier this month, which may have been the trigger for the settlement.
Crucially for Vonage, which has been in serious financial jeopardy for several months, the agreement will require no cash damage payments. Instead, each side will let the other license three of its patents in a limited arrangement.