Justice Department to Investigate Deal?

Nortel Patent Deal Under Scrutiny

Jessica Thornsby

Are the Justice Department investigating the acquisition of the Nortel patents by Apple, Microsoft, RIM and Sony?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department is investigating whether the consortium, consisting of Apple, Microsoft, RIM and Sony, who acquired Nortel’s 6,000-strong patent portfolio at a price of $4.5 billion, could use the patents against competing Android smartphones. The portfolio consists of wired, wireless and digital communication technology patents, including patents for 4G, data networking, optical, voice and semiconductors. In a press release, Nortel stated that their “extensive patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking.”

Google also made a $900 million “stalking horse” bid for the Nortel patents. Upon announcing the bid, Google stated that:

“If successful, we hope this portfolio will not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community—which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome—continue to innovate.”

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