Rockstar Consortium, an unusual partnership between the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Ericsson and Sony, has received the green light from the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) for the $4.5 billion acquisition of approximately 4,000 patent assets that were previously owned by Nortel Networks.

Back in July 2011, the acquisition had already been ok’d by US courts, and a month earlier by antitrust regulators.

Now, the US DoJ’s waiting period for review of the patents purchase has expired, which basically means the consortium is free to consummate the (expensive) acquisition. The partners jointly announced the news this morning.

You may recall how close Google came to purchasing those Nortel patents instead.

Earlier this year, the DoJ’s Antitrust Division announced the closing of its investigations into the acquisitions by Apple, Microsoft and RIM of the former Nortel Networks patents, as well as its investigations into Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and the acquisition by Apple of certain Novell patents.

Now that the green light has been received, Rockstar says it is set to “implement its plans to pursue licensing agreements with companies that are harnessing its intellectual property”. Sounds like fighting words to me.

Rockstar CEO John Veschi, formerly Chief IP Officer of Nortel, put it this way:

“We are pleased to emerge from this review process, and are looking forward to working with technology related companies to provide them with access to Rockstar’s technology.

The entire industry has benefitted from Nortel’s groundbreaking innovations, and we are eager to work with them to establish licenses enabling the continued use of this technology.”

Nortel, a multinational telecommunications equipment manufacturer, filed for bankruptcy back in January 2009. The patents and patent application are its last major asset, encompassing technologies such as wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, and semiconductors.

Here’s the full press release:

Rockstar Consortium Receives Green Light From Department of Justice

Consortium forges ahead with plans to license intellectual property

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – March 12, 2012) – Rockstar Consortium (Rockstar) today announced that the US Department of Justice waiting period for review of Rockstar’s acquisition of a substantial majority of the former Nortel Networks patent portfolio, has expired and the company is free to consummate the acquisition. The portfolio consists of approximately 4,000 patent assets related to a broad array of networking, communications, and internet technologies.

These patent assets were a substantial component in the record-breaking auction this past summer, when Rockstar Consortium, made up of Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Ericsson and Sony, invested $4.5 billion to acquire Nortel’s portfolio from the bankruptcy estate. Nortel, a 100+ year-old telecom and networking pioneer, had developed the portfolio through tens of billions of dollars of R&D investment over the past few decades. Following the expiration of the waiting period, Rockstar is set to implement its plans to pursue licensing agreements with companies that are harnessing its intellectual property.

John Veschi, Chief Executive Officer of Rockstar, and formerly Chief IP Officer of Nortel, stated that, “We are pleased to emerge from this review process, and are looking forward to working with technology related companies to provide them with access to Rockstar’s technology. The entire industry has benefitted from Nortel’s groundbreaking innovations, and we are eager to work with them to establish licenses enabling the continued use of this technology.”

Rockstar

Rockstar Consortium US LP, and Rockstar Consortium Inc. (the Rockstar Companies) are jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Ericsson and Sony, and are chartered with managing the Rockstar portfolio on behalf of these owners.