Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is considering buying InterDigital's patent portfolio, which is worth up to US$5 billion. The patents cover a wide range of mobile technologies used to transfer information over high-speed mobile phone networks. Just last month, Apple was the leader of a consortium that bought Nortel's patent portfolio for $4.5 billion.
The ownership of patents is becoming a key issue to smartphone manufacturers as sales skyrocket. Major tech companies all want a piece of the same pie and Apple isn't alone in its interest of InterDigital's patents. Bloomberg says that Samsung has also been invited to bid on InterDigital's portfolio. Given that Samsung and Apple are locked up in patent lawsuits, it's possible that this could turn into a heated bidding war, possibly inflating the estimated $5 billion price.