Intel cellular IP and modem patents head to auction

Posted:
in General Discussion
Following April's announcement it was planning to leave the 5G smartphone modem business, Intel is said to be preparing to hold an auction for its cellular wireless intellectual property, which reportedly includes a portfolio of 8,500 assets that will be put up for sale.

Intel 5G Modem


After Apple and Qualcomm settled their legal spat in April, one which included a deal for Qualcomm to supply Apple with iPhone modems, processor producer Intel revealed an intention to withdraw from 5G modem development. In a new report, it seems Intel's next phase of that intention is to start selling off its related intellectual property.

Intel is said to be preparing a two-part auction for its assets, believed to be around 8,500 items in total, divided up into two separate portfolios: cellular and connected devices. According to IAM, the cellular portfolio will consist of approximately 6,000 patent assets associated with 3G, 4G, and 5G cellular standards, and 1,700 assets about wireless implementation technologies.

The second portfolio is smaller in size, consisting of just 500 patents, but are said to have a "broad applicability" across both the semiconductor and electronics industries. Intel will continue to retain significant wireless assets despite the vast number of patents that will be sold.

Nader Mousavi of Sullivan & Cromwell is handling the auction, with Intel thought to be anticipating non-binding indications of interest from potential bidders by early August.

It is believed the auctions are being held separately from attempts by Intel to sell its smartphone modem arm. There have been some reports of Apple potentially acquiring sections of the modem business in April, in order to help accelerate its internal modem development efforts, with discussions for the acquisition happening since September 2018 but ended before the Qualcomm settlement's announcement, though talks have supposedly opened back up again.

Intel does have an interest to sell off the modem arm, as it is a considerable cost to the processor company's bottom line. It is estimated Intel is losing around $1 billion annually directly via the arm.

The patent sale could provide Intel with billions of dollars, based on previous large-scale auctions.

The sale of patents from Nortel in 2011 were acquired by the Rockstar Consortium for $4.5 billion, a group which counted Apple as a member, which also outbid Google in that auction. Despite the purchase, in 2015 the consortium's last assets were sold off, netting Apple an estimated $392 million, far below the $2.6 billion it allegedly contributed to the auction bid.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 721member
    Apple, or better yet Apple with a bunch of other companies in the industry, needs to buy them. Otherwise some Patent Troll firm will grab them and start suing everyone in sight.
    lkruppAppleExposed
  • Reply 2 of 9
    DAalseth said:
    Apple, or better yet Apple with a bunch of other companies in the industry, needs to buy them. Otherwise some Patent Troll firm will grab them and start suing everyone in sight.
    Hmmm, the last time Apple joined a cabal, Rockstar Consortium was born.  Not Apple's best day.  I do agree that it would be terrible of a patent troll  grabbed the IP though.  Apple should go it alone if they do anything at all.  
    cornchip
  • Reply 3 of 9
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,658member
    This is happening to help drive up the price if Apple was actually looking to buy the Modem business unit.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,084member
    DAalseth said:
    Apple, or better yet Apple with a bunch of other companies in the industry, needs to buy them. Otherwise some Patent Troll firm will grab them and start suing everyone in sight.
    Hmmm, the last time Apple joined a cabal, Rockstar Consortium was born.  Not Apple's best day.  I do agree that it would be terrible of a patent troll  grabbed the IP though.  Apple should go it alone if they do anything at all.  
    The Rockstar Consortium may or may not have been Apples best day...  we don’t know where the patents ended up. (could have been with the consortium members)

    Yesterday, the priority might have been ensuring Google didn’t get them.  Today, it might be patent trolls...

    The difference is Apple could really use these patents.

    Patents vs army of lawyers

    ... decisions decisions 


    mwhite
  • Reply 5 of 9
    DAalseth said:
    Apple, or better yet Apple with a bunch of other companies in the industry, needs to buy them. Otherwise some Patent Troll firm will grab them and start suing everyone in sight.
    Hmmm, the last time Apple joined a cabal, Rockstar Consortium was born.  Not Apple's best day.  I do agree that it would be terrible of a patent troll  grabbed the IP though.  Apple should go it alone if they do anything at all.  
    The Rockstar Consortium may or may not have been Apples best day...  we don’t know where the patents ended up. (could have been with the consortium members)

    Yesterday, the priority might have been ensuring Google didn’t get them.  Today, it might be patent trolls...

    The difference is Apple could really use these patents.

    Patents vs army of lawyers

    ... decisions decisions 


    We basically do know where the patents went.  Apple and the other members divided up the choicest 2000 patents and sold the ~4000 others to RPX Corp for $0.20 on the dollar from the original $4.5B.  
  • Reply 6 of 9
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,099member
    DAalseth said:
    Apple, or better yet Apple with a bunch of other companies in the industry, needs to buy them. Otherwise some Patent Troll firm will grab them and start suing everyone in sight.
    Hmmm, the last time Apple joined a cabal, Rockstar Consortium was born.  Not Apple's best day.  I do agree that it would be terrible of a patent troll  grabbed the IP though.  Apple should go it alone if they do anything at all.  
    The Rockstar Consortium may or may not have been Apples best day...  we don’t know where the patents ended up. (could have been with the consortium members)

    Yesterday, the priority might have been ensuring Google didn’t get them.  Today, it might be patent trolls...

    The difference is Apple could really use these patents.

    Patents vs army of lawyers

    ... decisions decisions 


    We basically do know where the patents went.  Apple and the other members divided up the choicest 2000 patents and sold the ~4000 others to RPX Corp for $0.20 on the dollar from the original $4.5B.  
    Of those Apple got 939 granted patents, 27% of the total distributed, and 211 of the pending ones (not yet granted and may not be) or 38% of that category. A huge number of the former Nortel granted patents began expiring in 2017 and the majority of them expire within the next two years. 
  • Reply 7 of 9
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,654member
    any bets on whether Qualcomm is one of the primary bidders? I can very much see them buying the patents to further consolidate their monopoly and prevent competition.

    DAalseth
  • Reply 8 of 9
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,503unconfirmed, member
    DAalseth said:
    Apple, or better yet Apple with a bunch of other companies in the industry, needs to buy them. Otherwise some Patent Troll firm will grab them and start suing everyone in sight.

    Patents don't mean crap anymore.  Anyone can troll and every patent is invalid nowadays.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    MplsP said:
    any bets on whether Qualcomm is one of the primary bidders? I can very much see them buying the patents to further consolidate their monopoly and prevent competition.

    Nah.  I can very much see them staying far far away from Intel's patents.  They're already in enough trouble with regulating bodies around the world.  Why would they provide more ammunition against themselves by giving the impression of becoming more of a monopoly?  Their patent portfolio is already one of the strongest out there.  Intel's patents would be more a liability than an asset.  
Sign In or Register to comment.