Commerce One patents auctioned for $15.5 million

About 40 patents owned by bankrupt software vendor Commerce One were auctioned for US$15.5 million in a San Francisco bankruptcy court Monday.

The winning bidder, JGR Acquisitions, has kept quiet about its plans for the patents, which cover Web services technology. JGR attorney Mark Mullion of the Dallas law firm Haynes and Boone was not immediately available for comment Tuesday. Several news organizations reported that the attorney avoided reporters' questions at the Monday hearing.

The rest of Commerce One's remaining assets were sold for US$4.1 million to Commerce One Acquisitions, a company formed by ComVest Investment Partners II and DCC Ventures, two large Commerce One creditors, said Commerce One lawyer Craig Prim of the law firm Murray & Murray.

Earlier this month, Lee Van Pelt, an attorney at Van Pelt & Yi, estimated the patents would sell for between US$1 million and US$10 million.

The Commerce One patents cover methods for companies to communicate with each other and provide certain types of information when carrying out machine-to-machine transactions over the Internet. Patents from the company, which was a pioneer of electronic marketplaces, could cover e-commerce technologies widely used by other companies, according to analysts.

JGR beat out two other companies associated with former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold during the auction in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Filing a reorganization plan and paying off creditors is the next stage in Commerce One's bankruptcy proceedings, Prim said. "We have virtually nothing left except for a bit of cash," he said of the company's status.

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