/spandiv style="float:right;width:305px;display:inline;font-size:13px;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;line-height:16px;" img src="http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/53846000/jpg/_53846383_getty.jpg" width="304" height="228" alt="The Sun, AFP/Getty"span style="width:304px;"Google's bids drew on different numbers such as the distance to the Sun/span /div div class="story-feature related narrow"Related Stories/div p class="introduction" id="story_continues_1"Google's bids for a pool of wireless patents were based on mathematical constants, say sources./p pThe portfolio of 6,000 patents was auctioned to realise some value from the assets of bankrupt telecoms firm Nortel. /p pDuring the sale, Google's bids were based on pi, other constants and the distance between the Earth and the Sun./p pGoogle lost the auction as a consortium including Apple and Microsoft made the winning bid of $4.5bn (pound;2.8bn)./pp"Google was bidding with numbers that were not even numbers," a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/02/us-dealtalk-nortel-google-idUSTRE76104L20110702"a source involved in the auction told the Reuters news agency/a./p pThe sale of the patent portfolio started as a five-way scrap between two separate consortia and individual firms including Google and Intel. /p pInitial estimates suggested the portfolio would attract around $2bn (pound;1.24bn) but the four days of intense bidding saw the total rise sharply. /p pDuring its bids, Google picked numbers including Brun's constant and Meissel-Mertens constant that were said to have "puzzled" others involved in the auction. When bids from rivals hit $3bn, Google reportedly bid pi, $3.14159bn, to up the ante./p p"Either they were supremely confident or they were bored," Reuters' source said./p pIt is not clear what inspired Google to draw on obscure mathematics for its bids. However, Google co-founder Sergey Brin is widely acknowledged to be a maths prodigy and the bids may reveal his influence./p pAs the bids got bigger some firms dropped out and others became partners to pool their resources. From going it alone, Apple joined a consortium that included Microsoft, Research In Motion and Sony./p p"It did become clear to us very quickly that this was something that a bunch of big companies with humongous balance sheets had decided was strategic for them," said John Amster, Chief Executive of RPX that led one consortium. The RPX-led group dropped out as the price climbed./ppUltimately the portfolio was being fought over by two groups: Google and Intel on one side and the Microsoft/Apple-led consortium on the other./p pGoogle's failure to secure control of the patents could cost it dear in the future, warned intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller./p div style="float:right;width:305px;display:inline;font-size:13px;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;line-height:16px;" img src="http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/53846000/jpg/_53846388_giantandroid,ap.jpg" width="304" height="171" alt="Giant Android, AP"span style="width:304px;"Android handset makers may face higher licence fees in the future/span /div p"I would have thought they would seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to become a new wireless patent player," Mr Mueller told the BBC. "It's not going to have, any time soon, a comparable opportunity to acquire such a diversity of relevant patents in a single purchase."/p pCurrently Google had about 700 patents in its mobile portfolio, he said, many of which relate to using handsets to serve its core competences such as search. /p pBy contrast, he said, the Nortel patents relate to future technologies that will make mobile networks faster and handsets more powerful. /p pControlling that, he pointed out, would be very useful as a bargaining chip with rivals. Owning the patents could also ease the burden on firms making Android devices as they would have fewer licence fees to pay./p pUse of Android technology from Google is free provided handset makers pipe traffic back to the search giant so it can make money with adverts. /p pHowever, the numbers of companies asking for cash to use the non-Google developed technologies found in Android phones was rising, he said. /p pFor instance, Microsoft has announced licensing deals with many Android phone makers including General Dynamics and HTC. /p pWith the control of the patents passing to a consortium that includes firms that are Google's bitter rivals in the mobile phone world, licence fees could increase./p p"It's reducing the claim that Android is free to an absurdity," said Mr Mueller./p pGoogle has not issued a formal statement on the auction outcome but has reportedly called it "disappointing"./ppThis article is from the a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk" title="Link to BBC News"BBC News website/a. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites./p pa href="http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/zk8AdaoudF39WC6DrFsuUdw62Nk/0/da"img src="http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/zk8AdaoudF39WC6DrFsuUdw62Nk/0/di" border="0" ismap="true"/img/abr/ a href="http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/zk8AdaoudF39WC6DrFsuUdw62Nk/1/da"img src="http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/zk8AdaoudF39WC6DrFsuUdw62Nk/1/di" border="0" ismap="true"/img/a/pimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/BbcNewsTechnologyFullFeed/~4/zMJ-ljit7ks" height="1" width="1"/