Research in Motion wants to drive the nails through the coffin on Google and Apple's respective efforts to secure the bevy of highly valuable patents up for grabs from bankrupt Nortel - patents that contain hot, in-demand technologies for the LTE 4G networking standard.
According to reports published this weekend, the BlackBerry maker is gunning for the likes of Google and Apple to secure the patents "at any price." And, in terms of price, this one is definitely a sticker shock in the making. Just days ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google's bid - which is still on the table - stands at $900 million.
“Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories,” Google general counsel Kent Walker told the WSJ. “So after a lot of thought, we’ve decided to bid for Nortel’s patent portfolio in the company’s bankruptcy auction."
Nortel filed for bankruptcy in January 2009 after a loss of $5.8 billion as its customers put off spending on new equipment amid the recession. Since then, Nortel has raised about $3 billion for its creditors by selling businesses, with the patents portfolio the last of the major assets to be sold.
Although it isn't clear just how much Apple, Nokia and RIM are bidding, sources say RIM is poised to out-bid them all if it means obtaining Nortel's patents. Of course, this is merely hearsay. But if RIM is serious and plans to counter Google's offer - at this time it doesn't appear that Apple will, despite having the financial resources to do so - an auction will be held June 20 to determine who will get the goods.
Patent attorneys and industry analysts who have weighed in on the matter almost universally concur that bidding will ultimately top $1 billion for the patents - patents, many say, that could easily return that large investment in a relatively short period of time.
Source: WSJ, Bloomberg