Google gets go ahead to bid on tech patents

Google (GOOG : NASDAQ : US$502.95), Net Change: -5.42, % Change: -1.07%, Volume: 2,038,077
DOJed a bullet. The U.S. Department of Justice has given Google the green light to pursue its $900-million bid for a smattering of patents being sold by now-defunct Canadian telecommunications-equipment maker Nortel Networks, according to the Wall Street Journal. The more than 6,000 patents being auctioned by Nortel next week encompass most of the high-tech world, including Wi-Fi, social networking and the fourth-generation wireless technology known as LTE. After an antitrust review, the Justice Department has concluded that Google’s potential ownership of these patents wouldn’t raise any major competitive concerns, giving it a leg-up against rivals Apple (AAPL) and Research in Motion (RIMM), who have also been in talks with the Justice Department about potential bids.

Other rivals including Microsoft (MSFT), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), AT&T (T), Nokia (NOK) and Verizon Communications (VZ) on Monday filed objections to the sale, saying it could disrupt the balance of power and give the winner an unfair competitive advantage. For its part, Google is looking to buy the patents to thwart expensive IP lawsuits. The company has relatively few patents to wield in countersuits as a deterrent, at least compared with longer-established rivals. The auction, part of Ontario-based Nortel’s bankruptcy process in Delaware and Canada, is set to take place on June 20.

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