Google bids $900 million for Nortel patents

Apr 04, 2011
Nortel logo is seen in Paris 2009. Internet giant Google said Monday it is bidding $900 million to buy the patent portfolio of Canadian technology company Nortel at a bankruptcy auction.

Internet giant Google said Monday it is bidding $900 million to buy the patent portfolio of Canadian technology company Nortel at a bankruptcy auction.

The Mountain View, California-based Google said the move is aimed at protecting the company from potential frivolous patent litigation.

The bid came on Google co-founder Larry Page's first day as chief executive of the titan. Page, 38, replaced Eric Schmidt as CEO on Monday.

Nortel said the portfolio includes approximately 6,000 patents and for wired, wireless and digital communication technologies.

Google's $900 million dollar bid for Nortel's portfolio will be the starting bid for the auction, which is expected to take place in June 2011 pending the approval of courts in Canada and the United States.

"The tech world has recently seen an explosion in patent litigation, often involving low-quality software patents, which threatens to stifle innovation," Google general counsel Kent Walker said in a blog post.

"Some of these lawsuits have been filed by people or companies that have never actually created anything; others are motivated by a desire to block competing products or profit from the success of a rival’s new technology," Walker said.

"One of a company's best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services," he said.

"Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of , many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories," Walker said. "So after a lot of thought, we've decided to bid for Nortel's patent portfolio in the company’s auction."

He said obtaining the portfolio would "create a disincentive for others to sue " and also help open source software projects such as Android and Chrome.

Explore further: As dust clears, what's next for Sony?

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not rated yet Apr 04, 2011
Patenting software is almost ridiculous, seeing as how:

1) Software coding practices are largely standardized, as are the languages themselves.

2) Anyone would want to optimize their code.

3) Optimized code for the same basic algorithm on the same language will be identical, with the exception of variation in variable names and commenting.

4) Optimized code for optimized algorithms compiled on identical compilers will have identical output.

If a patent clerk can reject an energy machine or the use of catalysts in said machine based on the claim that, "Anyone skilled in the art would think to do so...," then patenting software should be impossible based on the fact that, "eventually, anyone skilled in the art would come up with the same optimized code."

Patenting software is basically as absurd as patenting the quadratic formula or Pythagorean Theorem.
not rated yet Apr 04, 2011
The operative words here are "wired, wireless and digital communication technologies". How various wireless transmission strategies are implemented in mobile devices is ultimately a job for software programmers, but there is a huge potential in developing unique and proprietary methodologies applicable to the practice of modulating information in otherwise standardized wireless transmission protocols that are patentable. For example, Google could implement a whole new compression algorithm that reduces the size of packets even more, thereby speeding content loading times. And that's just one example.
not rated yet Apr 05, 2011
QC thats the same post as you did for another article very recently. C'mon now at least try to be original in your posts :)
not rated yet Apr 12, 2011
Since Intellectual Ventures started suing, I now completely disbelieve the claims of any business entity that it is buying up patents for "defensive purposes only." However, even when it does inevitably start suing, Google will likely be able to evade the "patent troll" label (and thus take advantage of judicial preference for "practicing" entities over NPEs/PAEs), since it also engages in R&D. Clever.

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