FutureFive NZ - US Govt investigating patent deal

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US Govt investigating patent deal

Officials have approved the sale of patents owned by bankrupt telco Nortel to a tech consortium including Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and Blackberry makers Research In Motion (RIM).

However, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is retaining an interest in the deal, interviewing consortium members to see if they intend to use the Nortel patents in legal strikes against failed bidder, Google.

The 6000 patents were purchased for a whopping US$4.5 billion, dwarfing Google’s bid of $900 million. Apple paid more than half of this, stumping up $2.6 billion according to CNet.

There has been much speculation about how the consortium, known as Rockstar Bidco, will use the patents, for example if they will be divided up or shared equally.

Google, for its part, has just purchased over 1000 patents from IBM, and is reportedly looking at purchasing InterDigital - itself launching a suit against Nokia, Huawei and ZTE last week.

In other patent news, Microsoft has been ordered to pay Alcatel-Lucent $70 million in a suit stretching back to 2003.

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