Microsoft objects to Nortel patent sale terms

 

Claims to have a perpetual royalty-free license anyway.

Google should not be allowed to buy thousands of patents belonging to bankrupt Nortel Networks under current sale terms, Microsoft said on Monday, the deadline for bids in an closely watched auction.

Microsoft, which claims a "worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free license to all of Nortel's patents" following a 2006 deal, said in a filing with a Delaware bankruptcy court that existing agreements should be transferred to any new owner of the intellectual property, which spans many fields.

Google has offered to pay US$900 million for more than 6,000 patents and patent applications belonging to Nortel, a once mighty Canadian network equipment maker that filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009.

The sale will likely face competing bids from many of the world's largest tech companies and is expected to raise more than US$1 billion for Nortel's creditors.

Google has agreed to buy the patents subject to all existing commercial licenses, Nortel has said, but a string of companies are pushing for stronger wording in the final deal.

Microsoft believes all such agreements "must remain enforceable against the purchasers of the transferred patents," whether it ends up being Google or another company, it said in the filing.

The buyer of Nortel's patents will gain bargaining power for cross-licensing deals and a bulwark against litigation. But it also will have to navigate a maze of existing agreements, which could dampen excitement and limit the eventual price tag.

Several sources have told Reuters that likely bidders include Apple, Ericsson and RPX, which licenses patents on behalf of member clients for a fee.

Nortel says the assets may be sold in a single sale to one buyer or in parts to several purchasers.

"Microsoft and Nortel entered into an agreement, money was paid, and its for the life of those patents," said Richard Ehrlickman, vice-president of intellectual property of General Patent Corp, which did not advise any of the potential buyers.

Computer maker Hewlett-Packard and handset makers Nokia and Motorola Mobility, among others, also filed objections to the terms of the sale.

Motorola wants language inserted into the contract so it can assert any legal argument, including an affirmative defense, in any lawsuit brought by the eventual owner of the patents.

HP also is requesting a clarification of terms and Nokia said terms should ensure the buyer makes any industry-standard patents available at fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

The auction -- for patents covering wireless, data and optical networking, voice, Internet, semiconductors and other technologies -- is due to take place later this month.

Nortel has raised around $3.2 billion for creditors by selling assets.

(Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Carol Bishopric)


Microsoft objects to Nortel patent sale terms
 
 
 
Top Stories
NewSat defaults on $26m in overdue Lockheed payments
Jabiru-1 satellite build hits further hurdles.
 
IBM denies plans to cut 112k jobs
But admits to further restructuring.
 
ATO investigates 25 tech giants in tax hunt
Prepared to take tax evaders to court.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Franchisees, here's something you should know about
Jan 23, 2015
You need to know the Code if you are a franchisee or franchisor as the penalties are significant.
Xero users rejoice! Quoting has finally arrived
Jan 23, 2015
It has taken years, but Xero has at last added integrated quoting to its online accounting software.
You can now get a no-contract wi-fi tablet from Telstra
Jan 17, 2015
Telstra has began selling wi-fi tablets out of contract without paying extra for cellular ...
Get your business ready for 2015: mobile payments
Jan 2, 2015
These handy apps from MYOB, Xero and others can reduce your administrative load and improve ...
Xero prepares for key feature coming in 2015
Dec 19, 2014
Xero users will be able to track how their business is comparing to other Xero users.
Latest Comments
Polls
Who do you trust most to protect your private data?







   |   View results
Your bank
  36%
 
Your insurance company
  5%
 
A technology company (Google, Facebook et al)
  9%
 
Your telco, ISP or utility
  8%
 
A retailer (Coles, Woolworths et al)
  4%
 
A Federal Government agency (ATO, Centrelink etc)
  18%
 
An Australian law enforcement agency (AFP, ASIO et al)
  14%
 
A State Government agency (Health dept, etc)
  7%
TOTAL VOTES: 3053

Vote
Do you support the abolition of the Office of the Information Commissioner?

   |   View results
I support shutting down the OAIC.
  27%
 
I DON'T support shutting the OAIC.
  73%
TOTAL VOTES: 970

Vote