& cplSiteName &

RIM CEO Calls Nortel LTE Patents a 'National Treasure'

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

BlackBerry 's co-CEO Mike Lazaridis stood up before the Canadian House of Commons industry committee meeting this morning and made a plea to keep Nortel Networks Ltd. 's Long Term Evolution (LTE) know-how in Canada, saying that the two companies had come very close to an acquisition deal both before and after the vendor filed for bankruptcy.

The bulk of the RIM exec's testimony focused on how the maker of the BlackBerry device had tried to cut several deals with Nortel to acquire both Nortel's LTE-related workforce and its intellectual property (IPR) portfolio for months. This IPR, he stressed, is crucial to keep in Canadian hands.

"During this entire process, Nortel knew exactly what it was we were interested in; we came very close to consummating a deal several times... so close that we were sending emails back and forth about issuing a press release," Lazaridis told the committee.

Lazaridis said that RIM had starting talking about acquiring RIM's LTE assets "months before" Nortel filed for bankruptcy in January 2008. (See Nortel Files for Bankruptcy Protection.) He laid out the sequence of events -- as RIM sees them -- for the Canadian politicos this morning:

  • Months before Chapter 11 proceedings, RIM starts talking to Nortel about acquiring LTE assets.
  • RIM believes a deal is in place, is "surprised" by bankruptcy filing
  • The Chapter 11 process means that RIM "increased the scope of bid"; Lazaridis never exactly explains what RIM was bidding for at that stage.
  • Lazaridis once again "thought we had a deal," when RIM finds out about the stalking horse bid from Nokia Networks .
  • RIM sees the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for the auction procedure. Under the terms of the original stalking horse bid, RIM can only bid for the LTE assets, and the deal doesn't include the IPR that RIM wants. Lazaridis decides that the company won't sign the NDA.
  • RIM issues a press release saying that it would bid $1.1 billion for the LTE and CDMA assets.

Earlier this morning Nortel executives had told the committee that RIM hadn't been allowed in the auction process because it wouldn't sign "the standard" NDA. "The courts have decided there was no shut-out," declared Nortel's chief strategy officer. (See Nortel Could Sell LTE Patents Separately.)

"We had already signed two different NDAs as part of earlier discussions," Lazaridis said. From his perspective, the new NDA would shut RIM out from getting the LTE assets and IPR it actually wanted because under the terms of the agreement it couldn't get both, only the assets and a patent license.

"If we had signed that deal we would not have been able to purchase both at the same time," Lazaridis elucidated, saying that the terms of the auction reduced the value of the LTE IPR for "RIM and other companies."

RIM says the auction was structured this way because it was built on top of the original "stalking horse" bid from Nokia Networks . NSN, it emerged earlier this morning, wasn't interested in the LTE patents, only the workforce. Nortel has said that the auction process was supervised and determined to be fair by the bankruptcy court.

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) eventually trumped NSN in the auction process. Lazaridis used his bully pulpit to call for talks on that auction and the IPR that Nortel holds. Nortel's LTE patent portfolio and development work is,"nothing short of a national treasure that Canada must not lose," he said.

"Before we rush to get rid of things that we believe are very important to Canada's future, all we are asking is that we all get together in a room -- RIM, Ericsson, Nortel, and the government -- and discuss it."

The Canadian parliament could further examine the deal under "net benefit to Canada" and "national security" clauses. Several committee members mentioned such possibilities during the proceedings, but no definite statements have been made yet.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, October 26, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Tackling DDoS
Gary Sockrider, Principal Security Technologist, Arbor Networks
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cliff Grossner on Cloud & Network Synergy From Carrier Service

10|18|16   |     |   (0) comments

Local carriers offer the collaborated cloud and network service that benefits from their understanding of the regulations operating in different vertical markets.
In this interview, Cliff Grossner from IHS Technology talks about how this advanced service can support business agility and flexibility.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, VeEX's President and CEO, talks with Light Reading's Alan Breznick live from the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016. They discuss DOCSIS 3.1 technology, deployments and early lessons learned. New products on display include the CX350s-D3.1, CX380s-D3.1, CX310, AT2500-3G, FX150 OTDR and MTT WiFI Air Expert.
LRTV Custom TV
Smith Micro's Carrier-Grade WiFi Component

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Carol Wilson of Light Reading as she interviews the CTO of Smith Micro, Dave Sperling.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
WiCipedia: Grace Hopper Promotes Diversity, Girl Scouts Code & How to Thrive
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 10/21/2016
Oh Snap! Qualcomm Unveils X50, Its First 5G Modem
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/17/2016
Telecom Italia Plots Digital 'Overlay,' Not Transformation
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/17/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.