From a dead Canadian tech giant to a dying one: Nortel sells patents to Research In Motion (and others)

by Knowlton Thomas | Apple

Nortel, in its prime, was a Canadian legend in the making, set to make our country's history. And in the end, it did, but for all the wrong reasons.

Waterloo's Research In Motion experienced its prime through the mid 2000s, arguably even up until last year. But the company has lost its lustre, becoming the butt of jokes and fodder for media and critics to feast on daily.

But it isn't Nortel yet—far from it. It's difficult to watch RIM's stock plunge from $140 to below $28, a five-year low, but with billions in cash and no debt, RIM's still got a shot at completing its tough transition and remaining a force in its industry—and a Canadian technology legend that makes history for the right reasons.

It's a little macabre to envision RIM as a dying entity, picking the flesh off Nortel's bones in a dog-eat-dog world, but that's essentially what's happened as the BlackBerry maker has picked up some of Nortel's many patents.

As part of a consortium consisting of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony, RIM picked up $770 million worth patents.

The total value of Nortel's 6,000-patent portfolio was $4.5 billion.

Nortel's patents covered a diverse range of telecommunications technology.

The auction purchase is slated to be court-approved in July.

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Research In Motion (RIM), a global leader in wireless innovation, revolutionized the mobile industry with the introduction of the BlackBerry solution in 1999. Since then, BlackBerry products and services have continued to change the way millions of people around the world stay connected. With the launch of BlackBerry 10, we have re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry. Not only... more

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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