Google gets green light to buy Nortel patents amidst competitor objections

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has received U.S. antitrust clearance to move ahead with its $900 million purchase of 6,000 Nortel patents.

The U.S. Justice department said that Google's ownership of Nortel's patents would not raise any antitrust concerns.

However, a number of Google's competitors aren't happy about the deal. A chorus of objections were filed by AT&T (NYSE: T), Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Nokia, and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) on Monday that claim Google could "disrupt a swath of essential technologies and give the winner an unfair competitive advantage over its rivals."

Microsoft, in particular, argued in a Delaware bankruptcy court filing that because it holds a "worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free license to all of Nortel's patents" the new owner should take responsibility of any existing agreements.

Similarly, Motorola wants language in the agreement that will enable it to assert any legal argument in any lawsuit brought by the eventual owner of the patent portfolio, while Nokia said terms should ensure the buyer makes any industry-standard patents available at fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

In April, Google made the $900 million stalking horse bid for the patents. Other potential suitors include Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Research In Motion, and patent-company RPX.

Since Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, it has been selling off core its assets, including its wireless assets to Ericsson, voice switching to GENBAND and its optical and Ethernet portfolio to Ciena. The patents are one of the last remaining pieces of the Nortel portfolio yet to be sold.

For more:
- Yahoo News via Reuters has this article
- here's FierceWireless' take

Related articles:
Nortel's patents still up for grabs
Google makes initial bid on Nortel's patent portfolio
Report: Ericsson weighs bid for Nortel's patents
Report: RIM may outbid Google for Nortel's patent portfolio

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