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Apple quietly acquiring former Nortel patents from Rockstar Consortium

An announcement on Tuesday from a Korean property rights regulator revealed that Apple has taken control of 1,024 patents and patent applications from the Rockstar Consortium, a bidding group led by the Cupertino company that won an auction for a package of Nortel patents in 2011.

Rockstar Consortium Logo


First reported by Korean language publication Yonhap News (via Business Insider), the recent transaction shined a light on Rockstar's transfer of more than 1,350 patents over the past six months, almost all of which went to Apple.

As a major contributor to the Rockstar Consortium, formerly called Rockstar Bidco, Apple already had access to the pool of about 4,000 former Nortel patents, but it appears that the company wants full rights to the IP. Business Insider speculated that the move is closely tied to Apple's ongoing global patent wars with wireless handset rivals like Samsung, as full rights allow the company to wield the properties offensively.

In August 2011, the Apple-led Rockstar put up $4.5 billion to outbid a Google-backed group of companies for a batch of Nortel patents. Apple put up $2.6 billion, while Rockstar's other industry heavyweights Microsoft, Sony, Ericsson, and RIM contributed to make the final total.

It is not known how many of the patents Apple has been collecting over the past months are related to wireless technologies.