Nortel may put patents on the block

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Nortel Networks is considering selling all or part of its highly coveted wireless patent portfolio. The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year, said it is exploring strategic alternatives to maximize the value of its thousands of patents. Although nothing has been decided yet, sources told the Globe and Mail that Nortel is considering several options including auctioning the patents, a joint venture with a new partner, or long-term licensing agreements with various wireless companies.

Nortel has already collected more than $3 billion in net proceeds from selling off portions of its business to competitors. Exactly how much the patents are worth is unclear, though some industry experts estimate the patents could sell for $1 billion if a bidding war is triggered. 

Potential bidders for the patents include competitors such as Ericsson or Nokia Siemens Networks. Last year Ericsson won Nortel's North American wireless assets through a bankruptcy auction for $1.13 billion. And in October, Nortel sold some assets related to the development of its LTE packet core network technology to Hitachi for $10 million.

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