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Report: Samsung in hunt for InterDigital's patents

Samsung is said to be considering bidding on InterDigital's patent portfolio, which is being prepared for auction. The move comes at a time when Samsung is embroiled in extensive IP litigation.

patent illustration

Samsung is said to be "examining" the patent portfolio of wireless technology company InterDigital to help bolster its existing collection of patents and other intellectual property, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The outlet says Samsung's been approached to make a bid on the portfolio, which is being shopped around ahead of a potential sale. 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.

InterDigital's intellectual property is of special interest to handset makers, especially for the company's 3G and 2G technology patents, which have been used as the cornerstone of previous litigation.

That Samsung would get involved is especially noteworthy given its history with InterDigital. A 2009 settlement that ended several years of litigation involved Samsung paying $400 million in royalties to InterDigital for use of its intellectual property in cell phones. That settlement came just ahead of a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission that could have banned some of Samsung's phones from being sold in the U.S. based on an InterDigital patent infringement complaint.

Samsung is currently at odds with Apple in a number of countries in intellectual-property related cases that have been launched from both sides. That includes patent-specific complaints filed by both Apple and Samsung at one another with the ITC, one of which was launched yesterday. The gain of InterDigital's patents would extend Samsung's existing portfolio, and potentially make a difference in some of the pending litigation.

Along with Samsung, Google and Apple have reportedly been looking to buy the InterDigital portfolio. Apple was part of the consortium of technology companies, that beat out Google, Intel, and others, for ownership of Nortel's portfolio containing some 6,000 patents and patent applications for wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, and semiconductor technologies in late June. That particular portfolio sold for $4.5 billion, with Applestaking more than half of the winning bid.