Judges in both the U.S. and Canada today have approved a deal of $4.5 billion patent sale that will allow Microsoft, Apple and other tech giants to buy up a trove of more than 6,000 patent and patent applications from the bankrupt Nortel Networks, The Wall Street Journal reports.
A consortium that includes Microsoft, RIM, Apple, Ericsson and Sony out-bid Google for a collection of over 6,000 patent and patent applications from the bankrupt Nortel Networks.
The consortium is paying $4.5 billion in cash to acquire the patents. Nortel, a Canadian firm, has been selling off its assets since it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009.
With control of the patents, Microsoft and others in the consortium hope to score more business in the mobile applications space. But the sale could also draw attention from regulators over anti-trust concerns.
Monday's court hearing was a test of whether the auction was a fair fight and produced the best possible result for creditors. Only a few objections remained unresolved Monday, and the few left were overruled.
"I don't believe a dollar was left on the table," said Derrick Tay of Norton Rose, Nortel's Canadian attorney. Nortel's patents are being sold in a way that preserves the license rights of users, preventing an immediate upset in the industry, Mr. Tay said.
"I'm not sure how long that's going to last, but right now we're one big happy family," Mr. Tay said Monday.