Intel hands over nearly 5,000 patents in deal with IP management outfit

Newly formed Tahoe Research Limited will seek to license them to third parties

Intel has entered into an agreement with IPValue Management Group that sees nearly 5,000 patents transferred to a newly formed company within the group that will seek to license them to third parties.

IPValue, which describes itself as an intellectual property manager, said that the new agreements extend existing licensing arrangements the company has with Intel and brings a further patent portfolio under its purview.

Back in 2019, Intel agreed to sell its smartphone modem business – and IP – to Apple following a legal dispute between Apple and Qualcomm

The patents have been transferred to Tahoe Research Limited, a newly formed company within the IPValue Management Group, and the portfolio is said to include patents relating to Intel inventions covering a broad range of areas such as "microprocessors, logic devices, computing systems, memory and storage, connectivity and communications, packaging, semiconductor architecture and design, and semiconductor manufacturing."

IPValue said it intends to license the Tahoe portfolio to its "established and growing network of licensees" and will continue to acquire and license portfolios from other sources.

The Intel IP portfolio is likely to comprise older patents that have not yet expired but no longer represent cutting-edge technologies so the chipmaker likely sees this licensing arrangement as a way of maximizing its revenue from some of its patents by allowing IPValue to handle the legwork in licensing them to third parties.

In a statement, IPValue's executive vice president of Partnerships and Acquisitions, Keith Wilson, said that the company has a team of team of experienced IP professionals ready to get started on licensing the Tahoe portfolio.

"This initiative reinforces IPValue's mission to reward and fuel innovation and supports Intel's freedom to operate goals, enabling Intel to focus more of its time and energy doing what it does best: driving innovations that enable global progress and enrich lives," Wilson said.

According to IP newswire IAM, working with IPValue is an attractive option for Intel as it rarely gets involved in patent litigation, but has a track record of returning high sums to its partners.

It quotes IPValue CEO John Lindgren as saying the company prefers to acquire patents in large numbers from established players because this makes dealing with potential licensees far more straightforward.

IAM said that this is "another significant milestone" for IPValue since Lindgren, formerly the head of Conversant, joined the company in 2017, and it now holds a portfolio that contains over 12,000 active assets.

This is not the first time that Intel has transferred a large chunk of IP to another company. Back in 2019, the chip behemoth agreed to sell its smartphone modem business to Apple following a legal spat between Apple and Qualcomm that resulted in a six-year global license agreement for Apple to use Qualcomm silicon rather than Intel's.

That move not only saw Intel's intellectual property transferred to Cupertino, but also over 2,000 Intel employees and various assets such as equipment in a deal worth about $1 billion.

Intel also sold its NAND flash and SSD businesses to South Korea's SK hynix for $9 billion in 2020, although the deal will not be fully complete until 2025, when Intel is due to transfer its IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers. ®

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