Over the past few weeks, the patent arms race has been accelerating and the latest comes in a Bloomberg story that has old frenemies – Apple, Google and Samsung – locked in a fight for InterDigital’s patent portfolio. Samsung is said to be interested the most in InterDigita’s intellectual property their CEO claims is “stronger” than the 6,000 Nortel patents the Apple-led consortium recently acquired for $4.5 billion. People familiar with the matter tell the publication Samsung has been “approached to make a bid”:

Samsung is looking at the patents along with Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc. (GOOG) and other potential bidders, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. InterDigital, which holds patents related to mobile technologies used to transfer information, said last month that it hired bankers as it considers a sale.

InterDigital’s patent portfolio covers technology for high-speed cellphone networks “now used by the world’s biggest handset makers”, including Apple’s iPhone as well as BlackBerry and Android phones. The portfolio includes 8,000 patents in total and is estimated to be worth $5 billion or more. “To hedge the risk, Samsung could go ahead with bidding, although they may have to pay a big premium”, says  Shinyoung Securities Co. analyst Lee Seung Woo.

Kodak on Monday put ten percent of its patent portfolio, or 1,100 patents, on sale, among them the image-previewing patent Apple and Research In Motion are being sued for. Google is fresh off acquiring 1,100 patents from IBM after they had lost the Nortel bid. HTC paid $300 million for S3 Graphics (really its patents) to gain some leverage in their pending lawsuit with Apple. Cynics might observe that patent holders around the world are looking to cash in on pending lawsuits as everyone is suing everyone in the mobile space.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com

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