MONTREAL - Swedish telecom giant Ericsson said Monday it is licensing Nortel's patents for advanced LTE cellphone network technology, a prized body of intellectual property that was not included in its purchase last month of Nortel's wireless assets.
Ericsson Canada CEO Mark Henderson said Ericsson has reached a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Nortel for the duration of the patents.
"Nortel retains ownership of those patents," Henderson said in an interview.
"They are capable of licensing them to any other company should they choose to do so, or sell them to any other company," including BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (TSX:RIM), a losing bidder in the US$1.13-billion auction that saw Ericsson scoop up the Nortel assets.
"I think RIM has the opportunity to do that," Henderson said. "Because it's non-exclusive, they can certainly get those licences."
The patents weren't part of the Nortel acquisition and Henderson said Ericsson isn't sub licensing them to anyone else.
LTE, or "long-term evolution", technology is expected to deliver the equivalent of a high-speed home Internet experience on a mobile phone.
U.S. wireless carrier Verizon is expected to have its LTE network, in which Ericsson is a partner, up and running late next year.
RIM issued a statement last week saying the Ericsson transaction must be reviewed "to ensure that Canada's national interests are met."