Report: DOJ examines Nortel patent sale

The DOJ is talking to Apple about its interest in Nortel patents, amid antitrust concerns, the Wall Street Journal reports

The U.S. Department of Justice is examining bidders, including Apple and Google, interested in Nortel's patent portfolio, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal that cites unnamed people familiar with the situation.

The agency is worried that the patents could be used to hamper competition in the wireless industry, according to the report.

In April, Google said it had bid US$900 million for thousands of patents that Nortel is auctioning off as part of its bankruptcy proceedings. While courts in the U.S. and Canada, where Nortel is based, approved Google's offer, other interested buyers have until June 20 to counterbid for the more than 6,000 patents.

The DOJ has been reviewing Google's bid but hasn't found competitive issues with it, the Journal reported. However, companies including Apple and Nokia have been rumored to be planning to bid. According to the Journal story, the DOJ's antitrust division is concerned primarily with Apple and the company has been talking with the agency about the concerns.

When Google made its bid for the patents public, it said it wanted the portfolio to create a disincentive for others to sue Google.

Lawsuits are rife in the wireless market, which has experienced explosive growth. Many of the largest hardware and software makers are engaged in patent disputes. Companies that use Google's Android operating system have been popular targets.

The Nortel patents cover technologies related to 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet and semiconductors, Nortel has said.

Nortel has been selling off assets since it filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009. It has sold its CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) wireless division to Ericsson for more than $1 billion and its enterprise networking business to Avaya for just under $1 billion.

The DOJ, which often does not comment on investigations, did not immediately reply to questions on Friday. Neither Google nor Apple replied to requests for comment.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags governmentGoogleApplelegalNetworkingtelecommunicationintellectual propertypatenttradeNortel Networks

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?