Irvine, Calif.-based chip maker and electronics provider Broadcom applied for a patent for multiple Near Field Communication antennas in an NFC device around the same time Apple Inc. did in 2012.

Broadcom's application, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December of 2012, describes technology that would establish a controller to configure antennas to allow NFC transactions regardless of how a phone is held. Apple filed a similar application in November of 2012, and the patent office published both companies' applications last week.

Apple's application describes technology that would share multiple NFC antennas between NFC devices or from wireless signals at farther distances. Broadcom's application concentrates on how to control the signals from multiple NFC antennas.

"A single NFC controller can control activation/deactivation of the multiple antennas by providing control signals to a switch" that can control the antennas based on the signals they receive, Broadcom's application states.

In addition to working in a contactless payment system, NFC technology can also be used to "bootstrap setup" other wireless communication methods such as Bluetooth or WiFi, Broadcom says.

Earlier this year, Broadcom introduced new NFC chips that would support the contactless technology through less expensive smartphones and wearable devices.

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