Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Dwight Duncan, has weighed in on Ericsson’sbid for the carrier wireless assets of Nortel Networks Corp.

“TheCanadian economy would be harmed” if the deal is approved by the courtsand Industry Canada, Duncan told Network World Canada.

“Theyobviously have enormous value,” he said of Nortel’s wireless patents.“If we lose them we lose our edge. We should be nurturing and fosteringthis industry in this country.”

Asked what he knows about thepatents Ericsson would acquire outright and what patents Ericsson wouldlicense, he said he had “no idea.” This is not Duncan’s fault, giventhat Ericsson and Nortel refuse to say which patents Nortel will keepif Ericsson’s acquisition is approved. The companies have said someLong Term Evolution (LTE) wireless patents will be transferred toEricsson, while others would be licensed to Ericsson. It is not clearwhether Nortel would keep a company in Canada for the purpose oflicensing patents to other manufacturers.

In a press conferenceTuesday, Ericsson officials said they plan to keep their researchcentre in Montreal, which employees about 1,500, and Nortel’s centre inOttawa.

“These plans can change very quickly,” Duncan said. “Next year the work could be done overseas, who knows?”



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