The ears of technology firms have again pricked up after the price of a major patent-owner has decreased on the back of Google’s acquisition of Motorola earlier this week. InterDigital, a wireless communication specialist, owns around 8,800 patents many of which are crucial 3G and 4G/LTE patents. They would be very helpful to a number of smart phone companies. Now that Google has its bride in the shape of Motorola, it would seem that someone else is at the front of the queue.
In terms of market value, the firm is estimated to be worth around $3bn and if you compare that to Google’s acquisition of around 20,000 patents for $12.5bn, then it’s significantly cheaper. Sources with the situation told Reuters that Apple, Nokia and Qualcomm are all looking at the firm in a move that would protect them even further against an attack of the troll.
Google has yet to deny that they will make a bid and it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise if they were to do so. Apple already made a huge acquirement of patents with the deal for Nortel and they are rumored to also be one of those in here. This is a very important company in the smart phone industry as well.
According to reports, around 50% of the 3G market is under license with InterDigital with a number of partners in the smart phone market. This includes Samsung, HTC, Research in Motion (RIM) and Apple to name but a few. Their 4G portfolio remains relatively unlicensed and might prove a huge asset to any company moving into the future. We are no strangers to patent trolls here in the gambling industry and any deal will likely also affect the mobile gaming industry.
The worry will be that the portfolio falls into the hands of a patent troll that attempts to gain financially from every company from here to Mars. Apple, Nokia or Qualcomm will likely acquire it as part of their own nuclear defence program though.