Apple paid $2.6B of $4.5B Nortel patent bounty

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) paid $2.6 billion for its portion of Nortel Networks' patent portfolio of more than 6,000 patents, according to a filing Apple made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The portfolio was sold in a bankruptcy auction to a consortium of six companies for $4.5 billion.

Apple made the disclosure in its quarterly 10-Q filing with the SEC, and noted that the purchase is subject to regulatory approval. The company did not disclose any details beyond the price. While the sum is substantial, it is still relatively small compared to the $76.2 billion cash hoard Apple has amassed as of the end of the second quarter.

The winning coalition included Apple, EMC Corp., Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) and Sony. RIM said it will pay $770 million for its share of the patents, and Ericsson said it will pay $340 million for its share. That leaves $790 million between EMC, Microsoft and Sony. Nortel's patents cover a wide range of technologies, including wireless video, Wi-Fi, social networking, semiconductors and, most notably, LTE.

In other patent news, Apple is reportedly interested in bidding for wireless technology and licensing firm InterDigital, according to Bloomberg. Reports have indicated Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is negotiating with InterDigital, which said this week it is exploring strategic options, including a possible sale. Google was the "stalking horse" opening bidder in the Nortel auction, but ultimately lost out.

InterDigital develops and licenses circuitry designs, software and wireless technologies. InterDigital's stock has a market value of $1.95 billion, and the firm holds about 8,800 patents and has about 10,000 patent applications in process around the world. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, InterDigital is looking for a price that not only reflects the value of its patents, but the long-term recurring revenue from licensing those patents.

For more:
- see this Apple SEC filing
- see this GigaOM post
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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