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Report: Sale of InterDigital's patent portfolio delayed

The sale is being pushed back so potential buyers can give it a deeper look, Reuters reports. The news comes on the heels of major deals over intellectual property.

The sale of InterDigital's patent portfolio has been pushed back until early September to give potential buyers a better chance to evaluate it, according to a new report.

Reuters said today the sale of InterDigital's portfolio, which stretches to some 8,800 granted patents and nearly 10,000 patent applications, is being delayed until after Labor Day. The sale was originally slated for next week, sources familiar with the situation told the outlet, but potential buyers want to vet the portfolio in light of recent landmark intellectual-property purchases.

Among the reported companies that were approached or otherwise interested in making bids on the massive portfolio are Apple, Samsung, as well as Google, which this week purchased Motorola Mobility Holdings and its portfolio of intellectual property. In its report, Reuters once again mentioned Apple as a potential buyer, as well as adding Nokia and Qualcomm to the list.

An InterDigital spokeswoman declined to comment on timing or details of the auction.

InterDigital's intellectual property is of special interest to handset makers and companies in the telecommunications business. The company's 3G and 2G technology patents have been used as the cornerstone of litigation that resulted in large settlements and licensing deals, including one with Samsung in 2008 that was valued from $400 million to $500 million as part of a five-year agreement. A complaint filed by InterDigital last month with the U.S. International Trade Commission, and as a lawsuit in Delaware, takes aim at Nokia, Huawei, and ZTE, claiming the companies are violating its patented 3G wireless technology.

Late last month InterDigital announced that it had hired Evercore Partners and Barclays Capital to consider strategic alternatives for the company, a move that included a sale of the company itself. It's the latest company to put its portfolio of intellectual property on the auction block, and it comes at a time when companies are making multibillion-dollar deals to snatch them up.

Canada-based telecom giant Nortel sold off its portfolio containing some 6,000 patents and patent applications for wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, and semiconductor technologies to a consortium of technology companies in late June. That particular portfolio sold for $4.5 billion, with Apple staking more than half the winning bid. By comparison, Google spent $12.5 billion on Motorola Mobility this week, a move that bolstered its patent portfolio by some 17,000 approved patents and 7,500 patent applications.