The Battle for Nortel's Patents Heating Up

Includes: MBTHF, NRTLQ
by: Mark Evans

To date, Nortel’s asset sales (aka “The Nortel Garage Sale”) have been interesting but not terribly exciting unless you take into account the public temper tantrums that Research in Motion had after it wasn’t allowed to participate in the auction for Nortel’s CDMA wireless business and LTE R&D unit.

But it looks like things could get really interesting as the remaining parts of the Nortel’s empire go on the block. In particular, Nortel’s patent portfolio is likely going to attract a huge amount of attention and multiple bidders looking to buy parts or all of Nortel’s 5,000 or so patents, including the highly sought after LTE patents.

A case in point is Ottawa-based Mosaid Technologies. which has publicly expressed its interest in Nortel’s patents.

“We’d be very interested in mining the whole portfolio and taking a look at individual pieces of it,” Mosaid CEO John Lindgren told Canadian Press, adding he hopes Nortel doesn’t sell all of its patents to a single bidder.

Not surprisingly, Mosaid is interested in Nortel’s LTE patents but it’s also exploring the idea of purchasing other patents that may not attract a lot of attention.

For creditors, the big question is who much Nortel’s patents are worth. In June, JP.MorganChase analyst Ehud Gelblum suggested Nortel’s LTE patents could be worth $950-million to $2.9 billion. (More details can be found at LightReading.)

More: As of Dec. 31, 2007, Nortel had about 3,650 U.S. patents and 1,650 patents in other countries.