Reports: Apple gets OK to bid on Nortel patents

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) received approval from federal regulators to bid on Nortel Networks' patent portfolio in a bankruptcy court auction scheduled for Monday, according to multiple reports. 

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Trade Commission cleared Apple to bid on the patents Thursday. Additionally, antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice have been reviewing the proposed bid and regulators there approved Apple's requested bid, according to a Bloomberg report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

An Apple spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Apple approvals are the latest bit of drama in a months-long saga that will culminate Monday with the auction of 6,000 of Nortel's patents, which cover a range of technologies, including wireless video, Wi-Fi, social networking, and, most notably, LTE.

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. Other firms reportedly bidding include patent firm RXP, Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) and Intel. Reuters reported that the FTC cleared Intel's bid for the patents Friday.

Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy in January 2009 and has been selling off assets since, does not intend to make any information public on the number and size of the bids until after a winner has been picked.

In other Apple news, the company filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung in South Korea, continuing the companies' ongoing patent battle. Samsung said in a statement released to news outlets that it will continue to defend its intellectual property. The new development comes days after a U.S. District Court judge denied Samsung's request to get access to the next-generation models of Apple's iPhone and iPad as part of the litigation in the United States.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article on Intel
- see this PC Magazine article

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