Google: 900 million dollars for 6000 Nortel patents
April 05th, 2011 - 11:15 am ET by J. G.
Google has offered 900 million dollars to get their hands on 6000 of Nortel Networks patents. This measure is not to attack, but to protect themselves.
Currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, Nortel Networks looks like they will hand over 6000 of their patents to Google. These patents are spread across a range of fields from telecommunications to Web searching and social networks. Nortel Networks lists numerous technologies: wireless networking, 4G, data networks, voice, optics, Internet and semi-conductors.
Google has offered 900 million dollars for these and it seems that they will get the prize unless another player offers more. They have justified the amount proposed as it provides protection against legal action, while passing critical comment on American legal system.
"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. The patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits". This statement was made by Google, although it is unsure at whom exactly it is addressed.
Oracle? Google is currently in dispute with Oracle who has accused them of violating a patent relating to Java and its unauthorised use on their mobile Android platform. Some actions by companies – often referred to as Patent Trolls who produce nothing but use the legal system to obtain royalties related to patents, are widely seen in the Smartphone’s segment.
Google points out the irony of this acquisition, as "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". If Nortel’s patents fall under Google’s control, the group believes that this will help dissuade some players in engaging in patent challenges against them. This will "help us, our partners and the open source community—which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome—continue to innovate".
Until now, Google has never filed a law suit related to patents that they hold. The company has never been one of the more active players in filing patents.