Tuesday, August 02, 2011, 09:55 pm PT (12:55 am ET)
Samsung considers bid for InterDigital as Apple patent dispute heightensSouth Korean electronics giant Samsung is said to be taking a look at InterDigital's patent portfolio and may consider bidding for the company as its legal battle with Apple escalates.
Two people with knowledge of the matter said Samsung has been approached to make a bid on Interdigital and is examining the company's patents, as noted by Bloomberg. The sources also corroborated reports that Apple and Google are potential bidders.
Apple and Google were reported as interested in InterDigital's intellectual property last month. Investors drove the Pennsylvania-based company's stock price up 50 percent on the rumor that the technology giants may bid.
InterDigital CEO William Merritt said in April that its patents, which include inventions related to high-speed mobile networks, are "deeper and stronger" than those of Nortel, which recently sold its 6,000 patents to Apple and a consortium of companies for $4.5 billion. Analysts have suggested that InterDigital could sell for more than $5 billion.
Major technology companies, especially those in the mobile industry, have expressed significant interest in intellectual property acquisitions as of late. After the recent bidding war between Apple and Google over the Nortel cache soared past analyst expectations, several companies, including Kodak, have considered selling their patents to capitalize on a so-called "patent arms race" that Google General Counsel Kent Walker has called an expensive path toward "mutually assured destruction."
Given the high-profile legal disagreement between Samsung and Apple, it's possible that the Korean electronics company is interested in InterDigital in order to gain the upper hand in the dispute while preventing Apple from adding to its arsenal. Apple first sued its rival in April, alleging that it had copied the look and feel of its iPhone and iPad. Samsung fired back with its own accusations of infringement.
On Monday, it was revealed that an Australian court had blocked sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 because of its ongoing patent infringement dispute with Apple. Samsung responded to the decision by claiming that, in spite of the ruling, the device will go on sale in the country in the "near future."
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