RIM studies bid for Nortel wireless patents: report

Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie discusses the new BlackBerry PlayBook device during an interview with Reuters in New York September 24, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Research In Motion may attempt to top Google Inc’s $900 million bid for Nortel Networks Corp.’s wireless technology patents, according to a Bloomberg report citing two people familiar with the plans.

Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009, was a pioneer in wired and wireless network technology and the assets include some 6,000 patents and patent applications for wireless, data and optical networking, voice, Internet, semiconductors and other technologies.

Google established itself as a “stalking horse” for a suite of its patents with a $900 million bid earlier this month.

Google, which runs the world’s most popular search engine, wants the Nortel patents to help it fight a growing wireless patent war against well-armed mobile superpowers. The company has pushed its Android mobile phone software to the top of the wireless heap, attracting litigation in the process.

Interest in the Nortel patents has been robust, but a deal has been delayed as Nortel’s liquidators and potential buyers haggle over price.

Analysts have said other expected bidders could include Chinese telecom network company ZTE, Ericsson, which bought most of Nortel’s wireless operations, and RPX, which licenses patents on behalf of member clients for a fee.

RIM was not immediately available for comment on the Bloomberg report.

Reporting by Paul Thomasch, editing by Bernard Orr