Tech Consortium Acquires Nortel Patents for US$4.5B

On July 29, 2011, a consortium of technology companies including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion (RIM) and Sony, as the winning bidder, completed the purchase of Nortel's remaining patents and patent applications for a cash purchase price of US$4.5 billion. The sale includes more than 6,000 patents and patent applications spanning wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patents. The transaction is considered to be the highest value sale of technology patents in history.

Legal work for the consortium was coordinated between Canadian counsel to Apple, Ericsson and RIM.

Apple was represented in Canada by a team from Stikeman Elliott LLP including Elizabeth Pillon and Dan Murdoch (insolvency & restructuring); Aaron Fransen (corporate); Justine Whitehead (intellectual property); Lorna Cuthbert and Kelly O'Ferrall (employment); Jeff Brown and Michael Kilby (competition); Dean Kraus and Glenn Cranker (tax); and in the United States by a team from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP including Kyle Krpata and Howard Chatzinoff (M&A); Marcia Goldstein and Ronit Berkovich (restructuring) and Charan Sandhu (technology & intellectual property).

Ericsson was represented in Canada by Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP with a team including Richard Corley and David Shaw (M&A); Jason Gudofsky (competition); Marc Flynn (insolvency & restructuring) and Kathleen Penny, Allan Gelkopf and Jeffrey Shafer (tax). Ericsson was represented in the US by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP with a team including Marilyn Sobel and Ji Lu (M&A); Charles Googe Jr. and Menachem Kaplan (intellectual property); Stephen Shimshak and Diane Meyers (bankruptcy & restructuring); Peter Rothenberg (tax); Joseph Simons and Didier Malaquin (antitrust & HSR) and Reuven Falik (employee benefits).

RIM was represented by McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Canada with a team led by Cheryl Slusarchuk, and including Jerald Wortsman, Oliver Borgers, Brian O'Neill and Kaaren Vlug; and in the US by Irell & Manella LLP with a team led by Eric Webber (M&A) and including Elliott Freier and Joel Rabinovitz (tax); Alan Heinrich and Andrei Iancu (intellectual property) and Howard Steinberg (bankruptcy).

Microsoft was represented by Covington & Burling LLP with a team led by Benjamin Hoch and Nigel Howard. Also advising on the transaction were Martin Beeler (bankruptcy); Jessica Milner, Christopher Beals and Grant Young (intellectual property and technology); Lars Kjølbye, Evan Cox, Miranda Cole and Thomas Weck (EU competition) and Robert Heller (tax).

Sony was represented by Shearman & Sterling LLP with a team led by Samuel Waxman (New York, M&A/intellectual property) and included partners Dale Collins (New York, antitrust), Geert Goeteyn (Brussels, antitrust) and Hans Jürgen Meyer-Lindemann (Brussels, antitrust).

EMC was represented in the United States by a team from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP led by Margaret Brown and including Andrew Kopans (M&A).

Nortel was represented in Canada by a team from Norton Rose OR LLP consisting of Michael Lang, James Cade, Troy Ungerman, Jeremy Grushcow and Kevin McPhee (M&A); Derrick Tay, Jennifer Stam and Evan Cobb (insolvency & restructuring); Kevin Ackhurst (competition); Chris Hunter (intellectual property); David Bannon (employment) and Adrienne Oliver (tax). Nortel was represented in the United States by a team from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP led by Lisa Schweitzer and James Bromley.