Apple, Google, Samsung in hunt to buy InterDigital’s $5 billion patent trove

“Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s second-largest maker of mobile phones, is examining InterDigital Inc.’s patent portfolio after being approached to make a bid, according to two people familiar with the matter,” Jeffrey McCracken reports for Bloomberg.

“Samsung is looking at the patents along with Apple Inc., Google Inc. and other potential bidders, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private,” McCracken reports. “InterDigital, which holds patents related to mobile technologies used to transfer information, said last month that it hired bankers as it considers a sale.”

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McCracken reports, “The King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based company may fetch more than $5 billion, according to analysts at Algorithm Capital and Dougherty & Co. Other companies including Eastman Kodak Co. are also selling patent portfolios.”

“Apple and Google are weighing possible bids, a person familiar with the matter said last month,” McCracken reports. “Google, whose Android operating systems runs smartphones that compete against the iPhone, lost in a bid for Nortel’s $4.5 billion portfolio to a group that included Apple and Microsoft Corp. InterDigital’s patents in cellular technology are ‘deeper and stronger’ than Nortel’s, InterDigital Chief Executive Officer William Merritt said in April.”

MacDailyNews Take: No, really, the guy selling something claims it’s better than someone else’s? Amazing.

Read more in the full article here.

[Attribution: Cult of Mac. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jax44” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
InterDigital appreciates 50% as Apple and Google said vying for patent trove; InterDigital sues Nokia, Huawei, ZTE – July 26, 2011
In wake of Nortel patent auction loss, Google general counsel calls for patent reform – July 26, 2011
Apple paying more than half $4.5 billion price tag on Nortel patent trove – July 22, 2011
Apple, Google gird for bidding war over InterDigital patent trove – July 20, 2011


  1. I am finding these patent acquisition stories boring. I know they are the latest horse race to watch, but they also represent the most base side of today’s technology world. New product development? No. Court strategy? Yes. It saddens me that this has now become such large piece of our tech news pie.

    1. That’s one way to run down a $76 billion bank balance down to nothing. And don’t forget patent protection only lasts for 20 years so you can see this descending to a vicious circle pretty soon.

  2. All of the companies mentioned should band together to purchase these patents as cheaply as possible. Bid a buck and a half and end the lawyers and bankers getting rich off patents. If not the price will go out of control.

  3. It must be very difficult to place a value on one patent, much less large groups of patents. The big difference in the contenders is that Apple has very deep pockets and is looking to augment its existing patent portfolio in order to protect its considerable success with iOS devices. Several of the other contenders have weaker patent portfolios as well as less cash on hand, but they are desperate to find a way to survive. If they can’t get the patents, then they at least want to make Apple pay dearly.

  4. $5B? No problem… Next Q alone… Apple can buy up all those patents… As regards to a previous comment of patents only lasting 20 years…

    Its still 20 years… with the ability to demand royalties (preferred route vs. outright banning a competitor).

    20 years… at this pace or even WHEN the next market crash happens… Apple positions itself to survive.

  5. Can’t anyone else see that buying patents is like buying carbon credits. Both are worthless to the buyer, just a cost of doing business. Only the seller makes any real money.

  6. Google thinks patent wars are a waste of time and that time and money should be spent on innovation I completely had to buy patents from ibm to protect it’s self from losers like apple and microsoft.

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