Google in talks to buy InterDigital

PTI New York | Updated on July 21, 2011 Published on July 21, 2011

Internet search firm Google Inc is in preliminary talks with InterDigital Inc about a possible acquisition of the wireless technology developer and licensor, says a report.

The move would beef up Google’s patent portfolio after it failed to acquire a trove of technology patents from Nortel Networks Corp.

“Google has had preliminary discussions with InterDigital about a possible acquisition of the wireless technology developer and licensor,” The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source.

Google, which owns the fast-growing Android operating system used in millions of mobile phones, has a thin portfolio of wireless and telecommunications patents. That makes the Internet search giant vulnerable to patent infringement lawsuits.

The report said that the acquisition of InterDigital’s intellectual property could help insulate Google’s Android franchise from a growing number of lawsuits against device makers such as Samsung Electronics, HTC Corp and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc, which use its software to power their smartphones and tablet computers.

InterDigital owns and licenses about 8,800 patents relating to transmission of wireless data, cancellation of noise interference during phone calls and other technologies for use in cellular phones and networks.

The daily said that Google and Interdigital have held discussions about a possible buyout, but financial advisers for InterDigital may approach a wide number of technology companies as part of the auction.

According to the publication, a spokesperson for InterDigital declined to comment on Google’s interest, but said the company’s patents and engineering and licensing capabilities could be of value to several potential buyers. A Google representative also declined to comment on the issue.

Published on July 21, 2011
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