* US Justice Department had been looking at Google, Apple
* Auction to start on Monday
WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) - U.S. antitrust regulators have given Intel Corp (INTC.O) approval to pursue assets being sold by bankrupt telecommunications gear maker Nortel Networks Corp NRTLQ.PK, the Federal Trade Commission said on Friday.
Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Google Inc (GOOG.O) and Ericsson (ERICb.ST) are also known to be interested in Nortel’s portfolio of about 6,000 patents and patent applications. The assets are to be sold in an auction starting on Monday.
The patents cover wireless, data and optical networking, voice, Internet, semiconductors and other technologies. Intel has been trying to make inroads into the wireless market for a long time with other moves, including its purchase earlier this year of Infineon Technologies AG’s (IFXGn.DE) wireless chip business.
Apple and Google are believed to be most interested in patents having to do with the latest wireless technologies, such as 4G and LTE.
The FTC announced the approval in a listing that it puts out several times a week.
Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy in January 2009, has already sold most of its physical assets. (Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp, Sinead Carew; editing by Gerald E. McCormick;)