Joff Wild

Last week the US Department of Justice announced that it had closed down its antitrust investigation into the acquisition of Nortel patents by a consortium of companies at the auction which took place in New York last June. Along with the Motorola and Novell deals, it was given the green light, with the DoJ stating in a press release: “After a thorough review of the proposed transactions, the Antitrust Division has determined that each acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition.”

So now that clearance has been given, what happens next? As yet we do not know the answer to that question, but it is worth noting that since the auction many of the individuals who were once part of the Nortel IP team have become employees of an organisation called Rockstar Consortium Inc. Among them are John Veschi (who will be speaking at the IP Business Congress in June), previously CIPO at Nortel, now CEO of Rockstar; Gillian McColgan, previously Nortel IP’s CTO, now Rockstar’s CTO; and Chris Cianciolo, previously VP of IP law at Nortel, now holding the same position at Rockstar. One new face is CFO Ross Morgan, who looks to have  joined last month.

There’s no website as yet, but LinkedIn has a pretty helpful list of Rockstar employees. It’s probably not complete, but it does indicate that Rockstar may already be a pretty sizeable organisation. It does not take a great leap of imagination to conclude that as the regulatory hurdles are cleared, the day when Rockstar Consortium Inc swings into action is drawing nearer. What kind of action that will be remains to be seen, especially given the undertakings that the DoJ says have been given regarding the portfolio's standards essential patents. However, one thing is certain - it makes sense to have the people that know the patents best still on the inside, making sure that their value is exploited to the maximum extent possible. The consortium's members will want to make their money back and then some more as soon as possible.