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Intel takes wireless patents off sale, enters exclusive talks with potential buyer

Having only put them on sale in June, Intel has allegedly withdrawn 8,500 wireless patents from offer while it enters exclusive talks with a possible buyer.

Other interested parties were notified late Tuesday by James Kovacs, Intel's director for licensing trademarks and standards, according to IAM. The exclusivity period is temporary, and the unnamed buyer would only be snapping up a "substantial portion" of the patent portfolio.

That portfolio is specifically said to be broken into about 8,000 cellular patents and 500 for connected devices.

Apple could theoretically be the described bidder. June rumors claimed that Apple was looking to buy a part of Intel's mobile modem business, specifically core German operations.

Intel announced it was exiting the 5G modem business almost immediately after Apple and Qualcomm settled a long-running legal battle. As part of the settlement, Qualcomm will be supplying modems to Apple, and is expected to start with the 2020 iPhone models.

Apple is believed to be working on its own 5G modem that could launch as soon as 2022. Intel patents may be useful not just in development but in protecting against lawsuits, whether from rivals or non-practicing patent holders.