Bankrupt Nortel postpones auction of patent portfolio

Bankrupt Nortel Networks has postponed its sale of its portfolio of patents, citing a "significant level of interest." The company had planned to put its 6,000 patents up for auction June 20 but has delayed the auction until June 27.

Last week, antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice approved Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) opening "stalking horse" bid of $900 million for Nortel's patent trove, which includes LTE patents. The regulators concluded that Google's potential ownership of the portfolio would not cause major anticompetitive concerns.

The approval comes as a handful of major technology and wireless companies filed complaints with the bankruptcy court overseeing the proceedings about the way the auction rules have been written.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which said it holds worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free access to Nortel's patents via a cross-licensing deal the companies inked in 2006, argued that any prior agreements should be transferred to the new owner of the patents. Hewlett-Packard, Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) also lodged complaints about the rules.

Reports have indicated in recent months that Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) may bid for the patents. RPX Corp., a patent-buying firm, has confirmed it is interested in the portfolio.

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