Joff Wild

Rockstar Consortium Inc, the company formed to handle the Nortel IP assets purchased at auction last June by RIM, Apple, Sony, EMC, Ericsson and Microsoft, has made its first moves towards monetising the portfolio. Although, it was only in February that the US Department of Justice announced that it had closed down its antitrust investigation into the acquisition of the patents and related rights the consortium puchased, a letter has already been sent to prospective buyers. This announces the intention to “sell two single-family patent portfolios, one dealing with social networking and the other with LCD backlighting“.

Interested parties are told that Rockstar “can forward some marketing material on for each of the portfolios“. What’s more: “While we are being proactive with some sales, we can also be reactive, so if there are assets or areas within the former Nortel portfolio that you might be interested in, please feel free to get in contact.“

The full text of the letter, with names removed, reads as follows:

... I was passed your contact information by a colleague of mine. I handle the sales and acquisitions of patents for Rockstar Consortium Inc., the company formed out of the purchase of the former Nortel IP assets by RIM, Apple, Sony, Ericsson and Microsoft. We are currently intending to sell two single-family patent portfolios, one dealing with social networking and the other with LCD backlighting. My colleague suggested sending the information on to you as you might be looking to acquire new assets for licensing purposes. If you think you might be interested I can forward some marketing material on for each of the portfolios.

Additionally, while we are being proactive with some sales, we can also be reactive, so if there are assets or areas within the former Nortel portfolio that you might be interested in, please feel free to get in contact.

...

I thought this sentence was rather interesting: “My colleague suggested sending the information on to you as you might be looking to acquire new assets for licensing purposes“. The letter was sent to a well-known NPE.

Once Rockstar consortium members make sure they have all the licences and rights in place to cover themselves, the priority will no doubt be to start recouping some of the investment that they made. Commitments made to the DoJ and other anti-trust authorities notwithstanding, all those companies that did not buy the Nortel portfolio are potentially vulnerable to assertions of patents contained within it. Rockstar Consortium Inc is once removed from RIM, Apple, Sony, Ericsson and Microsoft (what happened to EMC, by the way?), a third party NPE would be twice removed. And that could prove rather handy or tricky, depending on who you are.