Intel spends US$375m on treasure trove of 1,700 wireless patents

18 Jun 2012

Intel has paid US$375m in cash to get its hands on 1,700 Wi-Fi, 3G and LTE patents from tech firm InterDigital.

The mobile landscape is shifting and the powerbrokers in this space are no longer RIM or Nokia but Samsung, Apple and Google, which recently bought Motorola Mobility for US$12.5bn.

Accessing this range of patents gives Intel considerable latitude to hold its own in developing chips for mobile devices like smartphones, tablet computers and ultrabooks, not to mention servers and other key equipment.

The agreement involves patents primarily related to 3G, LTE and 802.11 technologies. InterDigital is an active developer of advanced wireless technologies including WCDMA (wideband CDMA), HSDPA (high speed download packet access) and HSUPA (high speed upload packet access), 3G technologies, as well as LTE (long term evolution) and LTE-advanced 4G technologies.

Wireless world-defining technologies

“The acquisition of this portfolio of InterDigital’s technologies by a global technology leader like Intel affirms the efforts of our research and development team which actively shares our innovations with the worldwide standards bodies, defining technologies that are central to the world’s major wireless systems and devices,” said Scott McQuilkin, senior executive vice-president, Strategy and Finance at InterDigital.

“This transaction, which involves a small portion of our overall patent portfolio, marks an important milestone of InterDigital’s stated strategy of expanding the monetisation of its large and growing intellectual property portfolio.

“By executing on our business plan, which has been broadened to include patent sales, licensing partnerships and other possibilities, we see tremendous potential to expand revenue and build shareholder value.”

The companies expect the transaction to be completed in third quarter 2012.

“These patents will support Intel’s strategic investments in the mobile segment,” said Doug Melamed, Intel senior vice-president and general counsel. “The addition of these patents expands our already large, strong and diverse portfolio of intellectual property.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years