It has been confirmed that Apple has purchased a total of 1024 patents from Rockstar Consortium. The Rockstar Consortium has been passing the patents to the technology company over the past six months. A Korean regulator initially confirmed that the patents and patent applications were transferred from the consortium to Apple. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database has since also confirmed the transfer.
Rockstar Consortium is a group of technology firms such as Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion and Sony. Collectively, they purchased Nortel Networks' 6,000 patent portfolio for $4.5 billion in an auction back in June, 2011. Such patents related to technologies including semiconductors, wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice and internet.
Apple itself contributed $2.5 billion to the deal, meaning the company already had access to the patents. However, having access to patents and owning them outright are different.
Last year, the smartphone industry spent $20 billion on patents. For the first time in their history, spending by both Apple and Google on patents exceeded their spending on research and development of new products.