Google Put In Bids on Nortel’s Patents

Posted by at 9:32 am on April 4, 2011

Google said it had made a strategic bid on Nortel’s patent sale to protect Android. A “stalking horse” bid chosen by Nortel has put a minimum price of $900 million and is meant to discourage patent trolls, as well as anti-Android rivals like Microsoft and Oracle, from making relatively casual bids that let them attack the mobile OS further. Patent law was broken, and either acquiring the patents or forcing the price up was the best way of discouraging lawsuits meant solely to keep a competitor down.

“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,” General Counsel Kent Walker said. “In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe it’s the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners.”

The search giant has an immediate incentive to make a bid for the patents to possibly give it ammunition against Oracle’s ongoing Java lawsuit. The case has so far gone against Google with signs that it may have directly lifted Sun code, now owned by Oracle, for the Java engine in Android 2.2 and beyond.

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