Google was desperate to win the Nortel portfolio of patents, so that it could stave off patent trolls and other companies trying to sue it. Nortel’s huge portfolio of over 6,000 patents would have given Google a lot of leverage over its competitors. When Google first made the $900 million bid for those patents, it was expected that it would be very aggressive in trying to win them. The Department of Justice first played spoilsport, but later cleared Google to make the bid, setting the stage for Google to make the winning bid.
Today, Nortel announced that it had concluded the auction of all its remaining patents. The winner, it said, was a consortium consisting of Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion, Sony, Ericsson and EMC. The consortium won the entire patent portfolio for $4.5 billion.
“Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio”, said George Riedel, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Business Units, Nortel. “The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world.”
From the looks of it, it seems like all the members of the consortium teamed up against Google. Losing the auction means that it is still vulnerable, with a portfolio of less than 1000 patents. It is currently being sued by Oracle over the use of Java in Android, for damages estimated to be over $2.6 billion.
Many Android device manufacturers are also being sued by Microsoft. If it had won this patent portfolio, it might have been able to fight off its opponents.