Apple-Backed Consortium Sells 101 Patents to Spherix

Rockstar Consortium, a group created by Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and other technology companies to acquire patents from Nortel Networks Corp. in 2011, has sold a portion of that portfolio to Spherix Inc. (SPEX)

The patents in the sale cover technologies including access, switching, routing, optical and voice communication network devices, Spherix said in a statement today. Spherix disclosed in a filing last week that it issued $60 million in stock to acquire 101 Rockstar patents.

Rockstar, which also includes BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY), Ericsson AB (ERICB) and Sony Corp. (6758), was holding discussions in December to divest a portion of the patents after struggling to find large licensing deals for them, people with knowledge of the consortium’s plans said last month. The group spent $4.5 billion on the portfolio of 4,000 patents and applications from Nortel, once North America’s largest phone-equipment maker.

Spherix, based in Tysons Corner, Virginia, is among a growing number of publicly traded U.S. entities focused on collecting and making money from technology patents. In July, Spherix acquired its first piece of the Rockstar portfolio, purchasing seven patents in mobile communications.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Levy in San Francisco at alevy5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net

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