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Apple nabs 1,024 patents from Rockstar Consortium

Even though the tech giant is a member of the consortium that bought thousands for patents from Nortel Networks last year, it's quietly been in the process of buying some patents of its own.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr

The deal is sealed -- Apple has bought 1,024 patents and patent applications from the Rockstar Consortium.

According to Business Insider, the Rockstar Consortium has been quietly passing the patents to the tech giant over the past six months.

The announcement comes via Korean news agency Yonhap News, which reported that a Korean regulator confirmed that the patents and patent applications were transferred from the consortium to Apple. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database also confirms that the patents were transferred.

Rockstar Consortium is a group of companies -- Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Sony -- that purchased Nortel Networks' 6,000 patent portfolio for $4.5 billion in an auction in June 2011. These patents and patent applications encompassed technologies such as wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, and semiconductors.

Apple put up $2.5 billion in the deal, which means that it already had access to the patents it acquired over the last few months. However, outright owning patents is different than just having access since it gives companies leverage in patent legal battles. Now that Apple owns these 1,000 plus patents, it will most likely have the upper hand in its skirmishes against Google, Samsung, and other tech companies.

CNET contacted Apple for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.