Nortel’s last major remaining assets – its patents – have drawn the interest of Apple, Google and other companies.

The Wall Street Journal says the bankrupt telecommunication gear maker could start at $1 billion or so for its patent portfolio when the bidding beings in the near future.

Also in the running are groups formed around patent licensing firms, the newspaper said.

Some 4,000 patents are available, many of which are in wireless.

Nortel put the patents up for sale in December.

The company once employed thousands of people in RTP.

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