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Nortel patent sale: FSFE defends Free Software, competition

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Competition authorities in the US and Europe are currently investigating the sale of 6000 patents from Nortel, a bankrupt telecommunications equipment manufacturer, to a consortium of Apple, Microsoft and four other companies.

FSFE believes that the acquisition of these patents by those companies represents a very serious risk to competition in the mobile technology space, and to Free Software as a whole. Soon after the sale, we entered into dialogue with the competition authorities, and in September submitted a comprehensive summary of our concerns.

"Free Software is crucial to competition, and we are confident that the authorities will recognise the risk these patents, if they fall into the wrong hands, may pose to makers of software everywhere, whether their programs are free or not," says FSFE's President, Karsten Gerloff.

There is little information publicly available on the current status of this case, as the US Department of Justice and the European Commission continue to closely scrutinise the transaction. FSFE will continue to follow the situation closely as it evolves, and will work to defend software freedom at every turn.

You can read our submission here.