Apple-Funded Consortium Considers Selling Patents

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A major intellectual property licensing company backed by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in negotiations to sell some of its patents, according to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg. Rockstar is a consortium jointly operated by Apple, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Sony (NYSE:SNE).

As noted by Bloomberg, the company was formed after Rockstar’s backers acquired about 4,000 patents from defunct Canada-based telecom giant Nortel. Nortel’s portfolio of technology patents was purchased by Rockstar in 2012 for $4.5 billion after the consortium was able to outbid Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Before going bankrupt in 2009, Nortel was North America’s largest manufacturer of phone equipment and held many patents related to wireless mobile technology and the Internet.

However, according to Bloomberg’s sources, Rockstar has been unable to secure any significant licensing deals for its patents. In order to recoup its costs, the company has started to sell some of its patents. Spherix, another intellectual property licensing company, recently purchased a group of patents from Rockstar in July.

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