Google’s acquisition of Nortel’s patents being monitored
June 06th, 2011 - 05:33 pm ET by C. D.
The American department of Justice will conduct an investigation into Google’s attempts at acquiring a group of more than 6000 patents linked to wireless networking which are currently held by bankrupt Canadian telecom manufacturer Nortel.
The 6000 odd patents held by Canadian telecom manufacturer Nortel, in bankruptcy proceedings since 2010, has attracted interest from some large investors since Google first offered 900 million dollars. Other players have since shown their interest, including Research in Motion and Ericsson, suggesting that the eventual sale price will be higher by the end of negotiations in June.
Another large group may also throw their hat in the ring for Nortel’s patents: Apple. Each of these companies are looking to acquire this resource to reinforce their intellectual property holdings to defend themselves from the increasing number of legal challenges being put forward by intellectual property managers who are ready to attack at a moment’s notice. These companies are quite often referred to as "patent trolls" within the industry.
Due to the increasing number of law suits for patent violations, companies are looking to have a strong holding of technological patents to fight off these attacks. On the ground, Google isn’t in a strong position with their mobile Android platform, with this leading to the group looking to reinforce their holding of patents.
A strategic goal on numerous levels Nortel’s patents would therefore be most welcome by Google as this would provide them with a formidable holding with which they could intimidate and threaten other companies, even though this may reduce competition and slow down innovation. It’s for this reason that the US Justice Department has decided to look at how the acquisition of Nortel’s patents pans out, with its potential acquirers and economic consequences. This is all being done off their own bat, with no company requesting an investigation be undertaken.
This isn’t the last chapter in the number of investigations which have been undertaken against large American companies, and Google in particular, as their presence in numerous activity sectors and the size of the group means that each of their acquisitions has to be monitored to assure that the competition won’t be eliminated by the search giant.