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© Florian Müller Electronics Production | July 01, 2011

'There are two kinds of bidders'

Florian Müller, intellectual property analyst and blogger based in Starnberg (Germany), comments on the announced sale of Nortel's patent portfolio.

Comment on winning consortium and intentions "There were two kinds of bidders: those who wanted to buy those patents as a strategic weapon and those whose mission was to clear the market and prevent these patents from being used in all the wrong ways. I guess the winning consortium made a defensive, market-clearing purchase." Comment on losing bidder Google "No major industry player is as needy in terms of patents as Google. There are already 45 patent infringement lawsuits surrounding Android and makers of Android-based devices have to pay royalties to dozens of right holders. Just this week Microsoft announced that three more Android device makers, in addition to HTC, are already paying royalties on Google's Android to Microsoft." "By purchasing Nortel's portfolio, Google couldn't have solved all of Android's patent issues in one fell swoop. There are many entities asserting rights against Android whose calculus wouldn't have changed if Google had bought those patents. Oracle is a good example. Its lawsuit would have continued at any rate. But Google lost an unprecedented opportunity to acquire a major bargaining chip that would strengthen it at the mobile industry's intellectual property negotiating table. I'm afraid it won't get a similar opportunity in quantitative and qualitative terms anytime soon. It will have to continue to buy up smaller quantities of patents from failed startups and similar kinds of sellers. Those entities typically don't sell patents that read on a technology as essential as LTE [Long-Term Evolution communications standard]." "In light of Android's patent problems it's surprising that Google didn't outbid everyone else. It could have afforded more than USD 4.5 billion but it doesn't appear to be truly committed to Android."
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