Nortel used to be an admired Canadian company but since declaring for bankruptcy protection in 2009 they have slowly been selling off their assets. Today Google has confirmed after “a lot of thought” they’ll be going after about 6,000 Nortel patents mainly because “many of our competitors have larger portfolios”. The patents range from data networking, voice and Internet service and advanced 4G wireless technologies.
“But as things stand today, one 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. 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.
So after a lot of thought, we’ve decided to bid for Nortel’s patent portfolio in the company’s bankruptcy auction. Today, Nortel selected our bid as the “stalking-horse bid,” which is the starting point against which others will bid prior to the auction. 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. In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe it’s the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners.”