Bankrupt Nortel to sell patents worth $1 billion

Nortel Networks Limited, a part of Nortel Networks Corporation, once the largest company in Canada, is planning to sell all or part of its coveted library of wireless patents.

According to experts, Nortel's patents are worth an estimated $1 billion.

The Toronto-based company said it is "exploring strategic alternatives to maximise the value" of nearly 4,000 so-called patent families related to next-generation wireless technology, known as long-term evolution (LTE).

The former Canadian technology heavyweight has been selling off its divisions after filing for creditor protection in January 2009.

Media reports suggested that the beleaguered wireless major is considering a range of options, including an auction of the patents, a joint venture with a new partner or long-term licensing agreements with wireless companies.

If Nortel opts to sell the patents, it will mark the end of a 128-year-old communications company that rose to global prominence in the 1990s with digital innovations in telephone-switching technology and then floundered after the collapse of dot-com mania.