According to Reuters Apple and Google might be in a battle for the once mighty Nortel Networks patent portfolio, an acquisition that could help either of the two companies gain an edge in the mobile industry.

Nortel filed bankruptcy back in January of 2009 and the vast majority of their business has been sold off with the exception of their large number of patents that could aide in the improvements of mobile communications. There is said to be over 4,000 patents with a suspected value of around $1 billion and sources are saying Apple and Google both want a piece of these patents to protect themselves from giants such as Nokia in the courtroom.

There has been one round of bidding on those patents, this has been completed, said one source, who declined to be identified because the process is private. And what Nortel has done is divide the patents up into different lots covering different kinds of technologies.

The big draw for Apple and Google mainly seems to lie with Nortel's patents on third and fourth generation wireless technology which include the coveted LTE (Long Term Evolution). Other patents that would greatly aide in either companys future include patents for wireless handsets and infrastructure, as well as optical and data networking, Internet, Internet advertising, voice and personal computers.

It is certainly a very significant stockpile of potent weaponry, and whoever lays their hands on it is going to gain significant advantage, said Alexander Poltorak, chief executive of General Patent Corp, which advises companies on intellectual property strategy and valuation but is not advising anyone involved in the Nortel patent auction.

Bids for these patents are due within the next few weeks and it will be interesting to see if either one of these giants companies ends up walking away with these patents in their hands. Can either company afford to allow the other to gain all of these seemingly important patents or might they both wind up maybe splitting some of the patents? We will have to wait and see what unfolds and hopefully whoever wins these patents will make good use of them and improve devices and operating systems for all of us consumers to enjoy.

[ Reuters via MacRumors ]