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RIM tries to grab some Nortel pie

Hunts for crumbs from Ericsson's table

RIM is in negotiations to buy up some of Nortel's patents that slipped through Ericsson's fingers, in an attempt get themselves some IP collateral in preparation for the domination of LTE.

The news comes from Reuters, who quote the ubiquitous "source familiar with the situation" as saying the BlackBerry manufacturer has been talking to Nortel about acquiring any patents related to LTE that might still be lying around, once Ericsson gets approval to buy up Nortel's wireless division from the courts.

Technologies like UMTS, the third generation of GSM, and LTE, the forth, are licensed under FRAND obligations - owners of patents must make them available under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, which means the same price to all customers as well as not taking the piss when setting that price.

But most of the significant players in the mobile business have big patent holdings in the standards, so licensing tends to involve seeing whose pile of patents is bigger and invoicing appropriately. Those without a holding don't get invited to such meetings, and generally get left out of things.

RIM was interested in getting hold of Nortel's wireless business, but the companies fell out over bidding rules that would have prevented RIM from acquiring other parts of Nortel and left Ericsson to grab the wireless division, but other parts of Nortel have patents too and one has to wonder if there's something in particular that has caught RIM's eye. ®

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