Back in June, Intel launched a massive patent auction for over 8,000 of its wireless patents. Now, though, Intel may be in exclusive talks with a single company to offload them.

According to IAM, Intel has pulled the auction portfolio of its 8,500 wireless patents just weeks after publishing them. The report states that Intel has entered a state of exclusive talks with an unnamed company, and, if those go well, that company would buy the wireless patents.

And while the company is unnamed in the report, and it may stay that way for some time, this report suggests that the potential buyer could be Apple:

According to that note, the stockpile of assets received what is described as “very strong market interest”, but the exclusivity that the company had entered into with one party “precludes further engagement with other bidders at this time”. The email holds out the prospect that the auction process could be re-opened – presumably if the company fails to finalise a deal – but at this point it would be a surprise if the bidder were to walk away.

Intel gave no indication of who the interested bidder might be; whether, for example, it is an operating company acting on its own, a consortium or an investor play. However, given the reports of Apple’s interest in the chipmaker’s overall smartphone modem business, the iPhone giant must be seen as among the most likely bidders.

This is certainly not the first time that we’ve heard that Apple is interested in Intel’s mobile efforts, so this latest report does seem at least a little plausible. And considering so many rumors are swirling around that Apple is developing its own cellular modem for future mobile devices, this patent buy-up would be a big win for the company.

But, there’s nothing official just yet, so anything could change.

Do you think Apple is the unnamed company aiming to buy up Intel’s mobile patent portfolio