Bankrupt telecommunications company Nortel is selling off all of its business units, and there are a number of companies competing to snatch up Nortel's copious amount of patents. Apple, Google, RIM, and Nokia are all reportedly interested in purchasing some of Nortel's around 4,000 patents, which are said to be worth around $1 billion. It's not likely that any one company would buy every single patent, though; most would likely they would be interested in one or more of the six "buckets" of related patents, which are groups of related patents for things like LTE and other 4G tech. Final bids for the patent buckets are due within the next few weeks.
Patents can be a pretty hot commodity in the wireless industry, and whoever is able to snag Nortel's could have quite a leg up on their competitors. There are several companies involved in lawsuits right now, too, and I'm sure that they'd love to strengthen their cases by acquiring Nortel's patents. However this bidding war turns out, it's sure to have a pretty big impact on the wireless industry, so stay tuned!