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Apple, Nokia show continued interest in InterDigital patents

Following Google's purchase of Motorola, a new report claims that Apple is still interested in acquiring InterDigital, as are Nokia, Qualcomm and others in the wireless industry.

Citing sources familiar with the situation, Reuters reported Wednesday that "several companies" are "pondering bids" for wireless telecom specialist InterDigital Inc. The forthcoming auction of the company will be postponed from next week until sometime after Labor Day.

More time is necessary because potential bidders have reportedly asked for more times to analyze the company's patents. Companies in the wireless industry are interested in securing those inventions as patent infringement lawsuits involving all of the major industry players continue to mount.

Sources also reportedly said it's unknown whether Google will remain in pursuit of the InterDigital patents. The search giant was previously named as a potential bidder, but the announcement that it will buy Motorola for $12.5 billion may have changed those plans.

Apple was first named as a likely bidder on InterDigital in July. The company has 1,300 patents related to wireless device technologies that would be of prime interest to any smartphone maker.

The industry-wide desire for patents was predicted to drive up the price of InterDigital by as much as 50 percent. But shares of the company dropped on Monday following the news that Google will buy Motorola, as investors are now less certain that Google will make a play for the InterDigital portfolio.

According to Reuters, more than 50 percent of the current 3G market is already under license with InterDigital, including Apple, Samsung, Research in Motion and HTC. But the company's 4G portfolio is "relatively unlicensed."

Apple and a group of companies including Microsoft, RIM and Sony, purchased Nortel's 6,000 patents in an auction late last month for $4.5 billion. Google had teamed up with Intel to vie for the patents, but found itself outbid byits rivals.