Apple, Google Seek Patent Shields

2:40 PM -- Among the staggering numbers Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) reported last week in its third quarter results came the revelation that the iPhone maker will pay $2.6 billion to help acquire Nortel Networks Ltd. 's patents. (See Nortel Sells Patents for $4.5B.)

Apple's contribution is more than half of the total $4.5 billion being paid by the Rockstar consortium -- which comprises Apple, EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), BlackBerry and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) -- and shows just how determined the company is to amass the biggest pile of patents to protect itself against lawsuits. (See Done Deal for Nortel Patents? and Nortel Sells Patents for $4.5B.)

Apple and the Rockstars beat Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) for Nortel's patents. But now it looks like Apple and Google will go head-to-head again to acquire more intellectual property as they are both reportedly interested in bidding for InterDigital Inc. (Nasdaq: IDCC), which is exploring "strategic alternatives." (See InterDigital Mulls Sale.)

After losing its bid for Nortel's patents, Google will undoubtedly feel the most pressure to buy Interdigital's assets with the hope of making Android handset makers less vulnerable in patent litigation.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Sign In