Apple Strengthens Its IP By Acquiring Over 1,000 Nortel Patents

Apple Strengthens Its IP By Acquiring Over 1,000 Nortel Patents

Apple has been quietly acquiring sole ownership of Nortel patents.

Last year, Apple joined forces with Microsoft, Research in Motion, and Sony to form the “Rockstar Bidco consortium,” which outbid Google for more than 6,000 Nortel patents covering wireless and LTE technologies. Together, the consortium paid $4.5 billion for the portfolio, most of which — around $2.6 billion — came from Apple.

However, the Cupertino company has reportedly been quietly handing over more cash to secure sole ownership of select patents.

The Korea Intellectual Property Protection Association announced on Tuesday that Apple has acquired 1,024 patents from Rockstar Bidco, 695 of which have already been registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The rest are in the process of being registered, according to a report from Yonhap News, South Korea’s largest news agency.

It’s unknown how many of those patents are related to telecommunications, but you can bet that’s exactly what Apple’s most interested in. Of course, these patents will give the Cupertino company further ammunition against rival smartphone vendors like Samsung and HTC. Only time will tell whether Apple actually intends to use them in the courtroom.

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  • Market_Mayhem

    It would seem that Apple acquiring patents is a waste of time if they intend to use aggressively use them against other companies. Apple almost never wins anything important in court. Everything useful they try to protect of their own IP is usually thrown out of court as being too frivolous or vague. The most Apple can make out of buying more patents is passive protection from other companies suing them. 1000 patents isn’t really all that many even added to the 4700 or so they already have. Samsung has around 48,000 patents and IBM has a whopping 70,000 or so. Apple is way, way down there below Cisco and Oracle but at least more than Dell or Yahoo. Google was smart to grab Motorola (MMI) and get an easy 17,000 patents for $12.5 billion which was Motorola’s main worth for Google. Google will be able to hold a heavy sword over Apple’s head.

  • Gadget

    @Market_Mayhem “Apple almost never wins anything important in court” except for the largest patent court win ever where the jury suggested Samsung pay Apple over 1 billion dollars and the judge could make it 3 billion. Samsung may own 48,000 (I don’t know if that’s true or not) but it’s the quality of patents that matters. Apple is king when it comes to smartphone patents.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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