Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Santa Clara chip giant Intel Corp. is putting around 8,500 patents on the auction block, and hopes to get nonbinding bids by early August, IAM reports.
The portfolio includes around 6,000 patents related to 3G, 4G and 5G mobile modem standards, 1,700 patents around wireless implementation technologies and 500 patents that have “broad applicability” across the semiconductor and electronics industries, according to IAM, an IP industry publication.
The auction will reportedly be handled by the Palo Alto office of Sullivan & Cromwell and will led by partner Nader Mousavi.
Intel abruptly dropped out of the mobile modem business in April, after its biggest customer, Cupertino-based iPhone maker Apple Inc., settled a multiyear lawsuit with Qualcomm Corp. and agreed to buy 5G modems from the San Diego chipmaker again.
Intel had reportedly been losing $1 billion per year on its mobile modem development efforts, and would have very likely missed the deadline to get 5G-capable mobile modem chips to Apple in time for the 2020 version of the iPhone.
Apple, meanwhile, has spent months negotiating a possible acquisition of Intel’s business, and in the meantime, has poached top chip talent from the company. It’s still unclear if Intel will ultimately sell the business and the patent portfolio together, or split them up and sell them to multiple companies, IAM reports.
Either way, this could be one of the biggest patent sales since Nortel’s patent auction in 2011, which garnered a $4.5 billion bid from a consortium of companies that included Apple. The consortium banded together to outbid Google, offering Nortel five times more than the Mountain View search giant.
Intel is one of the largest patent recipients in Silicon Valley, according to Business Journal research, trailing only Alphabet Inc.-owned Google and Apple last year.
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