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Monday, December 23, 2013, 03:08 pm PT (06:08 pm ET)

Apple patent consortium Rockstar reportedly in talks for partial asset selloff

The Apple-backed Rockstar Consortium, a group of high-power tech giants that purchased $4.5 billion worth of Nortel patents in 2011, is reportedly in discussions to unload a portion of the properties as it can't find licensees for the IP.

Rockstar Consortium Logo


According to people familiar with the matter, Rockstar is said to be "in conversations" with prospective patent buyers interested in purchasing an unknown portion of the group's Nortel acquisition from 2011, reports Bloomberg.

Backed by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson and Sony, Rockstar purchased a hoard of Nortel Networks Corp. patents in 2011 for $4.5 billion. At the time of the sale, bidding ">escalated quickly as Rockstar was up against a rival coalition led by tech titan Google.

Sources claim Rockstar has been largely unsuccessful in scoring licensing deals for the patents, which in part prompted the selloff. With approximately 4,000 patents in the Nortel stash, the consortium is already selling small portions to those interested. One of the first was a July sale to IP company Spherix, which paid an undisclosed amount of cash, $1 million in stock and a promised percentage of future profits for a package of patents.

It was reported in 2012 that Apple itself was quietly acquiring a substantial number of patents from Rockstar. While the company has access to the IP pool as a Rockstar backer, it appears Apple wants full rights to certain properties, though the nature of these patents remains unclear.

Nortel's patent hoard included a variety of properties covering numerous fields, including Internet services, communications hardware and wireless technologies.

Most recently, Rockstar in October asserted seven of the patents against Google, Samsung and others, seeking past and future damages for willful infringement of IP concerning Internet search terms.