Courts OK Microsoft group's Nortel Patent Buyout

American and Canadian courts have approved the sale of thousands of patents from bankrupt Nortel Networks to a partnership of leading companies including Microsoft and Apple for about $4.5 billion.

The purchasing group, which also includes EMC, Ericsson, Research In Motion and Sony, won an auction for the sought after patents on 30th June this year.

On Monday, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved the deal at a joint hearing.

The package includes more than 6,000 patents and patent applications, including ones covering data networking, wireless, optical, voice, semi-conductor and service-provider technologies. Each company in the consortium contributed to the $4.5 billion cash bid.

The approval will be of particular benefit to Microsoft as patents covering wireless and internet technologies can be used to compete with the likes of Google and its Android handheld devices.

Google had hopes to buy the portfolio, making a $900 million bid in April, this set the minimum asking price in the auction. Google said it was bidding for the patents to discourage other companies from suing the search giant and to the benefit of the open-source community. Google responded to the consortium deal describing it as disappointing to anyone who values open innovation.

Nortel, once a major supplier of enterprise voice and data networks, wireline and mobile carrier infrastructure, was declared bankrupt two years ago. Since then the company has been broken up and sold part by part.

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