Intel to auction off its cellular wireless connectivity patent portfolio

Richard Lloyd for IAM:

In what looks set to become one of the highest profile patent sales in years, Intel has put its IP relating to cellular wireless connectivity on the auction block. The company is seeking to divest around 8,500 assets from its massive portfolio.

The news comes as the chip giant searches for a buyer for its 5G smartphone modem business having announced in April that it was pulling out of the market. That was after as it had become increasingly clear that the company, which has been the supplier of 4G modem chips to Apple for the last few years, was struggling to release a 5G product even though the rollout of the next generation of mobile technology is well underway.

The auction offering is comprised of two parts: the cellular portfolio and a connected device portfolio. The former includes approximately 6,000 patent assets related to 3G, 4G and 5G cellular standards and an additional 1,700 assets that read on wireless implementation technologies. The latter is made up of 500 patents with broad applicability across the semiconductor and electronics industries. Although that represents a large portion of Intel’s cellular IP it is understood that it will retain significant wireless assets.

The Wall Street Journal reported back in April that the company was scouting around for buyers for its wireless modem arm with Apple touted as a possible home for the business. According to the WSJ, the modem operation is currently losing $1 billion annually… While Intel has struggled to get a 5G product to market, it has still been able to build one of the most significant patent positions in the mobile sector.

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  1. Qualcomm would probably face anti-trust problems that make participation in the auction very dangerous. The short term benefits might be minimal when compared to the legal problems. Intel would be wise to ensure Apple gets the patents as there is a real desire that Apple continues purchasing processors for their Mac line.

    Work a deal Intel.

  2. I do agree if Intel screws Apple on this one there would be serious consequences. thought one might argue how big those consequences might be compared to those that are about to take place anyway re Arm migration but these days Intel needs all the friends it can get to stay in business longer term.

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