DOJ probes Apple's interest in Nortel patents

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The U.S. Department of Justice is concerned about potential bids from Apple for a cache of patents being sold by Canadian telecom company Nortel, given the iPhone maker's legal track record.



The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department is investigating companies interested in bidding on a collection of more than 6,000 patents from the now bankrupt Nortel including valuable intellectual property related to the 4G LTE standard.



The agency fears that U.S. technology giants, such as Apple and Google, could leverage the patents to block competition in the high-tech and wireless industries. According to people familiar with the matter, the DOJ hasn't found "major competitive issues" with Google, which has set the opening bid for the patents. However, officials reportedly have "greater concerns" about Apple. Sources said the company has been in talks with the Justice Department to address its concerns.



One legal expert called the trove "a stockpile of nuclear weapons as far as patents go." The auction is set to begin on June 20.



Late last year, Apple, Google, Nokia and Research in Motion were named as likely bidders on the patents. In April, Google's 900 million bid was accepted as a 'stalking-horse' offer.



?Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories,? Google general counsel Kent Walker said in April. ?So after a lot of thought, we?ve decided to bid for Nortel?s patent portfolio in the company?s bankruptcy auction."



RIM has reportedly seriously considered topping Google's bid. Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has called Nortel's LTE patents a "national treasure" in the past. It has also been suggested that a group of technology companies, which could include RIM, may pool their resources to outbid Google.



The Nortel situation has drawn comparisons to regulatory reaction earlier this year to a consortium of companies looking to acquire patents from Novell. Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and EMC created a joint holdings company to purchase 882 Novell patents after the company was acquired by Attachmate.



However, the deal prompted criticism from open source advocates worried that the companies would use the patents to damage open source competitors. In April, the Justice Department forced the consortium to promise not to use the Novell portfolio to unfairly stifle competition. Microsoft was also required to license patents instead of buying them.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 99
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    According to people familiar with the matter, the DOJ hasn't found "major competitive issues" with Google, which has set the opening bid for the patents. However, reviewers reportedly have "greater concerns" about Apple.



    Top Contributors To Obama, 2008

    University of California\t$1,591,395

    Goldman Sachs\t$994,795

    Harvard University\t$854,747

    Microsoft Corp\t$833,617

    Google Inc\t$803,436

    Citigroup Inc\t$701,290

    JPMorgan Chase & Co\t$695,132

    Time Warner\t$590,084

    Sidley Austin LLP\t$588,598

    Stanford University\t$586,557

    National Amusements Inc\t$551,683

    UBS AG\t$543,219

    Wilmerhale Llp\t$542,618

    Skadden, Arps et al\t$530,839

    IBM Corp\t$528,822

    Columbia University\t$528,302

    Morgan Stanley\t$514,881

    General Electric\t$499,130

    US Government\t$494,820

    Latham & Watkins\t$493,835

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/co...&cid=N00009638
  • Reply 2 of 99
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Yeah, really important that somebody innovative buys them... er....
  • Reply 3 of 99
    Quote:

    [...] given the iPhone maker's legal track record.



    Sorry, could you be more specific and try to elaborate. If you mean them going to court defending their in-house portfolio, nothing's wrong with that. For bought IP, maybe...
  • Reply 4 of 99
    ........
  • Reply 5 of 99
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,241member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    Top Contributors To Obama, 2008

    University of California\t$1,591,395

    Goldman Sachs\t$994,795

    Harvard University\t$854,747

    Microsoft Corp\t$833,617

    Google Inc\t$803,436

    Citigroup Inc\t$701,290

    JPMorgan Chase & Co\t$695,132

    Time Warner\t$590,084

    Sidley Austin LLP\t$588,598

    Stanford University\t$586,557

    National Amusements Inc\t$551,683

    UBS AG\t$543,219

    Wilmerhale Llp\t$542,618

    Skadden, Arps et al\t$530,839

    IBM Corp\t$528,822

    Columbia University\t$528,302

    Morgan Stanley\t$514,881

    General Electric\t$499,130

    US Government\t$494,820

    Latham & Watkins\t$493,835

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/co...&cid=N00009638



    So what. Several of those top donors won't be there in 2012 because they won't like the necessity of streamlining the Military, redundant health services, and especially the need to raise taxes on the wealthy to balance the budget.
  • Reply 6 of 99
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post


    Sorry, could you be more specific and try to elaborate. If you mean them going to court defending their in-house portfolio, nothing's wrong with that. For bought IP, maybe...



    Actually, it's mandatory do defend your patents rigorously under US law or risk losing them I believe.
  • Reply 7 of 99
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    It seems strange that we have a situation where a company that has such coveted patents has gone bankrupt.



    Why does the 'open source community' always have to assume the very worst motives of large corporations like Apple. Maybe it's justified, but let's not just assume the worst.



    It has to be said, if this portfolio is so valuable, surely Apple can go over anyone's head with the bidding at this point in time. $50b in readies.
  • Reply 8 of 99
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post


    Actually, it's mandatory do defend your patents rigorously under US law or risk losing them I believe.



    I thought it was only trademarks that required the fervent defense, not patents (or copyrights).
  • Reply 9 of 99
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    So what. Several of those top donors won't be there in 2012 because they won't like the necessity of streamlining the Military, redundant health services, and especially the need to raise taxes on the wealthy to balance the budget.



    Sorry, not getting your point. Contributors to left wing candidate will not contribute to left wing candidate in the future because he wants to implement left wing policies?



    Not sure that's true, but also don't see how it ties in with DoJ (part of executive branch) not finding a problem with a company (Google) that has made large political donations, yet finding problems with another company that hasn't (Apple), despite the fact that the two are in exactly the same business with regard to these patents.
  • Reply 10 of 99
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    So what. Several of those top donors won't be there in 2012 because they won't like the necessity of streamlining the Military, redundant health services, and especially the need to raise taxes on the wealthy to balance the budget.



    Do you know that "raising taxes on the wealthy" is only political class warfare. Interesting how some politicians try to benefit by pinning Americans against Americans. The fact is if you taxed "the rich" at 100%, meaning you take ALL their income, that that is only a drop in bucket toward reducing the national debt.



    Think of it this way. If you're taxed at 30% then you're working not for yourself or the company you work at, but for the government for that percentage of every day.



    Curious about that $1 a year salary Mr. Jobs himself takes each year. Wonder which tax bracket that puts him in.
  • Reply 11 of 99
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post


    Why does the 'open source community' always have to assume the very worst motives of large corporations like Apple. Maybe it's justified, but let's not just assume the worst.



    I believe Microsoft once hoped to torpedo Linux via patents. Also, just in general, open source folks tend to be against the idea of software patents.
  • Reply 12 of 99
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crees! View Post


    Do you know that "raising taxes on the wealthy" is only political class warfare.



    Also rings hollow when CEO of GE, which paid $0.00 in taxes and was a major donor to Obama, chairs the Obama's Jobs Council.



    Folks who think corporations don't support the left are living in the wrong century. Would recommend they brush up on Corporatism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatism
  • Reply 13 of 99
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,580member
    I don't like Eric Holder and I don't like the DOJ.



    I think that Apple should hire some nasty racists (not white racists), then the DOJ would back down and not pursue this issue any further.



    The DOJ also shut down two of my favorite poker sites recently. I got my money back from one of them, and I'm still waiting to get my money back from the other one.
  • Reply 14 of 99
    ltmpltmp Posts: 204member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crees! View Post


    Do you know that "raising taxes on the wealthy" is only political class warfare. Interesting how some politicians try to benefit by pinning Americans against Americans. The fact is if you taxed "the rich" at 100%, meaning you take ALL their income, that that is only a drop in bucket toward reducing the national debt.

    .



    Raising taxes on the wealthy isn't political class warfare, it is just an extension of commonly accepted practices. In most countries, the poorest are taxed at a lower rate (I can't speak for the US)



    According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_..._United_States



    "Today, the top 1% account for 24% of all income"



    And here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Househo..._United_States



    "In 2006, there were approximately 116,011,000 households in the United States."



    and



    "In 2006, the "real" (adjusted for inflation) median annual household income rose 1.3% to $50,233.00 according to the Census Bureau"



    So that would mean that the total income in the US in 2006 (the most recent numbers I could find) was $5,827,580,560,000. Thats $5 trillion, 827 Billion.



    So, if you taxed the richest 1% at 100%, you'd get $1.39 trillion per year. Not really "only a drop in the bucket"



    I'm not arguing that it is right to tax the richest at a higher rate, but you should try to be factual when making such a claim.
  • Reply 15 of 99
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,114member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LTMP View Post


    Raising taxes on the wealthy isn't political class warfare, it is just an extension of commonly accepted practices. In most countries, the poorest are taxed at a lower rate (I can't speak for the US)



    According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_..._United_States



    "Today, the top 1% account for 24% of all income"



    And here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Househo..._United_States



    "In 2006, there were approximately 116,011,000 households in the United States."



    and



    "In 2006, the "real" (adjusted for inflation) median annual household income rose 1.3% to $50,233.00 according to the Census Bureau"



    So that would mean that the total income in the US in 2006 (the most recent numbers I could find) was $5,827,580,560,000. Thats $5 trillion, 827 Billion.



    So, if you taxed the richest 1% at 100%, you'd get $1.39 trillion per year. Not really "only a drop in the bucket"



    I'm not arguing that it is right to tax the richest at a higher rate, but you should try to be factual when making such a claim.



    You really need to understand the difference between 'mean' and 'median' before spouting off on such matters.



    And, the fact that it makes no sense to multiply the median by any other number.
  • Reply 16 of 99
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LTMP View Post


    "In 2006, the "real" (adjusted for inflation) median annual household income rose 1.3% to $50,233.00 according to the Census Bureau"



    So that would mean that the total income in the US in 2006 (the most recent numbers I could find) was $5,827,580,560,000. Thats $5 trillion, 827 Billion.



    Doesn't mean that. "Median" is the number in the middle of the list if you sort the list numerically. You can't multiply the median by the number of items on the list and get the total value of the list.



    Edit:

    I see anantksundaram beat me to it.
  • Reply 17 of 99
    ltmpltmp Posts: 204member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    You really need to understand the difference between 'mean' and 'median' before spouting off on such matters.



    And, the fact that it makes no sense to multiply the median by any other number.



    Well, no, I just need to learn to read.

    My bad.
  • Reply 18 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... the iPhone maker's legal track record ...



    Presumably Microsoft is banned completely because of its illegal track record?
  • Reply 19 of 99
    ltmpltmp Posts: 204member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    Doesn't mean that. "Median" is the number in the middle of the list if you sort the list numerically. You can't multiply the median by the number of items on the list and get the total value of the list.



    Edit:

    I see anantksundaram beat me to it.



    I found the correct 2008 numbers (mean income instead of median) at http://www.census.gov/compendia/stat...es/11s0689.xls



    117,181,000 households

    Mean household income: $68,424 (incidentally, the lowest it had been since 1998)



    Total US income in 2008: $8,017,992,740,000



    *24% $1,924,318,260,000



    Sorry for my carelessness.
  • Reply 20 of 99
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Beauty of Bath View Post


    Presumably Microsoft is banned completely because of its illegal track record?



    Microsoft was banned from buying Novell patents, not Nortel patents. That may have to do with Microsoft trying to torpedo Linux at one time, as Novel was involved in that effort.
Sign In or Register to comment.