Report: Apple, Intel jump into Nortel patents race

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Intel are among the companies that will fight for control of Nortel Networks' patent portfolio in an auction, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal

The report, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said the two companies were accepted as qualified bidders. Bloomberg separately reported that Apple will bid on the portfolio of 6,000 patents. The patents cover a range of technologies, including for Wi-Fi, LTE and social networking. An Intel spokeswoman declined to comment and an Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple has been named in the past as a potential bidder for the patents, but Intel's inclusion in the bidder list is a surprise. It could indicate Intel's desire to become further enmeshed in the mobile market.

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) opening "stalking horse" bid of $900 million for the patents has reportedly received approval from antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, patent firm RXP has been accepted as a bidder. Reports have indicated in recent months that Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) may bid for the patents.

Nortel said last week it delayed the auction from June 20 until June 27, citing a "significant level of interest." According to the Journal report, the delay will allow other companies to advance their own arguments with regulators at the Justice Department. The main concern is that the winner of the patents will use them unfairly against wireless industry competitors.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article

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