Apple, Google gird for bidding war over InterDigital patent trove

“Apple Inc. and Google Inc., aiming to bolster their patent portfolios, are among companies weighing possible bids for InterDigital Inc., a mobile-phone technology designer, according to a person with knowledge of the situation,” Jeffrey McCracken, Brian Womack and Adam Satariano report for Bloomberg.

“InterDigital, which has about 1,300 patents related to mobile-phone technologies used to transfer information, hired bankers as it considers a sale, the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based company said in a statement yesterday,” McCracken, Womack and Satariano report. “InterDigital joins companies including Nortel Networks Corp. and Eastman Kodak Co. in selling patent portfolios that will help would-be owners defend themselves against allegations of infringement. Google lost in a bid for Nortel’s $4.5 billion portfolio to a group that included Apple and Microsoft Corp.”

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McCracken, Womack and Satariano report, “InterDigital’s patents in cellular technology are ‘deeper and stronger’ than Nortel’s, InterDigital Chief Executive Officer William Merritt said in April. The company has a market value of about $3.1 billion.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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RUMOR: Apple gets outright ownership of Nortel’s LTE (4G) patents – July 5, 2011
Google’s Android intellectual property headache looks set to become a migraine – July 5, 2011
Leaked bids show how Apple-led ‘Rockstar’ beat Google to Nortel patents – July 2, 2011
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Google bids $900 million for 6,000 Nortel telecom patents in quest to boost patent portfolio – April 4, 2011
Apple reportedly bidding for Nortel patent portfolio – December 13, 2010

22 Comments

  1. Girl “So, where are you from?”
    Boy “King of Prussia. Wait…where are you going? Come back, I’d like to buy you a drink.” Thinking to himself (Damn, I should’ve told her I was from Philly).

  2. This is exactly why the analysts are idiots. Apple piled cash for two reasons: control the supply chain and control the patents. There is no company in a better position to do that than Apple which means there is no other company poised for as much success as Apple.

  3. @BillyJack… You are clearly not from the Philly area, lol. It’s actually the exact opposite. A girl would be much more impressed if a guy said he was from King of Prussia than if he said he was from Philly. K of P has much more caché.

      1. Wow! I’ve heard that word “Pennsyltucky” for years, never seen it in writing before.

        Mt family is originally from SE PA, so it’s coming from the same place.

    1. *dammit.
      Anyway, it might help to remember that these patents are for defensive purposes mostly; Apple doesn’t need them as much as Google would. Only incentive for Apple would be to keep these away from Google and therefore keep Android platform at a weak state.

      Put it another way, Google is trying to avoid paying about $10-20 per phone by acquiring these patents. But if the price of the patents now hike up to another $5 billion, would it not already equal those licensing charges for 10 or so years. By then the patents themselves may expire, or technology would move on.

      Only reason Apple would want to pay another $5 billion or so, only to see Android die (not without seemingly endless litigation). Would it be worth all that?

      My non-intelligent recommendation: Apple do what Google did, bid some outrageous numbers and when the bid gets to a certain point, step back and let Google finally pay for their Android dream in hard earned cash. Apple will still have Nortel patents, and HTC will still be barred by ITC.

      At least that’s how I see it so far without actually knowing the actual value of the patents. If it has true future tech that Apple needs, then Apple should go all out; iPhone is now about 50% of their business.

      Did I just double talk?
      Dammit!

      1. Google doesn’t pay the licensing fees, the Android OEMs do. Google has not even been interested in defending Android in the patent fights.

        Google seems to have made a risk-reward analysis when they flip-flopped Android to be an app phone OS, cloning the iPhone. It looks like they built it patents-be-damned, with the risk of future litigation balanced by reward of a strong market position in an emerging market. They’d face the patent music in time, but would do so from the point of view of a successful market position. Besides, they don’t USE Android, so their exposure is limited.

        Now they are looking to acquire patent cover because if license fees get too high, OEMs could run to Microsoft. And it is starting to appear that WP7 might be a viable alternative.

      2. These patents are defensive only in that if Apple owns them, they will in all likelihood use them to shut put the would be competition. That is unless it makes sense to license, so that a technology achieves a sufficient critical mass in the market.

  4. Cool another treasure trove of extortion papers is for sale.

    I can’t wait until the state of the US patent system brings about small developers being sued over trivial programming logic. Oops we are already there.

  5. InterDigital is NOT a patent troll. They have lead the developement of wireless tech for a while and have got farther and farther ahead the past years and if anyone it’s InterDigital that will save us from spectrum congestion.
    I have sooo much respect for these guys (and Qualcomm).

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