Nortel open to bids for LTE patents

The last important remnants of the once high-flying Nortel are being offered for sale. The company has approached potential bidders that might be interested in its huge LTE patent portfolio, which is claimed to contain essential elements of the standard.

Strangely, bidders are being asked to sign strict non-disclosure agreements (NDA)--perhaps caused by awkwardness surrounding previous bids for Nortel assets--and include a clause that excludes them from admitting to have signed the NDA.

While the company is quietly gauging interest, others within Nortel are reported to be lobbying to retain these valuable LTE patents and looking to monetise the portfolio through a licensing programme.

If the company is able to determine how much the patents might fetch in an outright sale it could push ahead with a full-scale auction. If the stock of 4,000 patents doesn't attract sufficient interest then a licensing strategy would seem the likely option.

However, any direction will be heavily influenced by Nortel creditors keen to recoup as much cash as possible from the bankrupt company. Some analysts have judged the portfolio to be worth around US$1 billion.

RIM is believed to be heading those interested in purchasing the LTE patents, having missed out when other parts of Nortel were sold last year. The company sold its CDMA access technology to Ericsson for US$1.13 billion, and also agreed to sell some of its LTE packet core assets to Japan's Hitachi for US$10 million.

For more: 
- read this story at NetworkWorld

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