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Ernst & Young has issued the 25th Monitor’s Report. Of particular interest is the discussion about Nortel’s (OTC:NRTLQ) patents, which could be worth several billion dollars.

After completing a review of the company's patents to determine what patents should be assigned to the buyers of its business units, Nortel determined there are about 3,400 residual patents that haven’t been assigned to the buyers of individual business units.

Nortel then decided to engage a consulting firm with expertise in patents and intellectual property to provide an analysis of the portfolio and advice with respect to maximizing value from this portfolio. Following presentations from several consulting firms, Global IP Law Group was selected, and an agreement was signed last month.

Nortel expects to receive a preliminary report from Global IP by the end of 2009. It will then consider the various options and determine next steps, which suggests Nortel’s bankruptcy protection process will likely stretch out to more than a year.