InterDigital Patents Draw Interest from Apple and Samsung
According to sources cited by Bloomberg, Samsung and Apple have indicated their interest in acquiring patents from InterDigital. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google has held preliminary acquisition discussions with InterDigital, too. InterDigital owns and licenses some 8,800 patents pertaining to cellular phones, including wireless data transmission, noise cancellation, and other handset-related technologies. The smartphone industry is embroiled with patent litigation. The Journal said that Google is interested in InterDigital's patents after its recent loss in the Nortel patent auction, which was won by a consortium of companies that included Apple, RIM, Sony, and others. Without many patents of its own, Google is more susceptible to patent litigation than its competitors. Purchasing InterDigital and its 8,800 wireless patents would give Google at least some legal protection. Samsung and Apple are in the middle of a heated lawsuit regarding smartphones, and the addition of InterDigital's patents could give one a courtroom-advantage over the other. InterDigital has hired a firm to help it explore patent sales options, but none of the companies has confirmed Bloomberg's or the Journal's reports.