Google makes initial bid on Nortel's patent portfolio

Google this morning announced it has been awarded stalking horse bidder status--an initial offer on a bankrupt company's assets that acts as a baseline for other bids--for Nortel Networks' entire patent portfolio. The Financial Post reports that Google's bid was revealed by Nortel to be $900 million.

Nortel holds around 4,000 patents that relate to seven telecom and technology "families," reports FP, a large portfolio that is essentially the last big asset the bankrupt telco has left to sell off. At least two other unnamed parties are interested in the portfolio as well--although earlier reports from sister publication FierceWireless named ZTE, Apple, and Huawei as being in the running, particularly for Nortel's LTE patents.

While some of Google's detractors may say this is just another move by the search engine giant to branch out into (and then dominate) another industry, Google's senior vice president and general counsel, Kent Walker, says purchasing Nortel's patent portfolio is a defensive move to stave off patent litigation.

" 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," he wrote on Google's official blog. "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."

For more:
- The Financial Post has this article
- Google has this blog post

Related articles:
ZTE will bid for Nortel's LTE patents
Report: Apple, Google, Huawei, ZTE all vying for Nortel's patents