Intel Buys £240 Million Of InterDigital’s Wireless Patents

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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The chip maker proves it is serious about smartphones

On Monday, wireless technology developer InterDigital has announced it will sell around 1,700 of its patents to Intel, in a deal that testifies to the chip maker’s mobile ambitions.

The deal will see Intel spend $375 million (£240m), or $220,000 per patent. The technologies covered in the arrangement are mostly related to 3G, LTE, and fifth-generation Wi-Fi technology known as 802.11ac.

The announcement sent InterDigital shares moving up $6.20 to $29.08 at the close of trading on Monday, a 27 percent hike.

San Diego, one of the first smartphones to be based on an Intel chip, was launched in the UK on 6 June. Motorola and Lenovo have confirmed they plan to release Intel-powered mobile devices in the future.

Intel-lectual property

InterDigital has been looking to sell its wireless patent portfolio for a while, in an attempt to cash in on a boom in demand. According to Reuters, the investors applauded the deal, following unsuccessful attempts to sell the whole company last year.

InterDigital generates much of its revenue from licensing its patents to tech giants like Research In Motion and Apple. The intellectual property it is selling to Intel constitutes only a fraction of its 20,000+ portfolio.

However, some analysts have noted the price that Intel agreed to pay appears to be much lower than in similar recent patent deals.

“The acquisition of this portfolio of InterDigital’s technologies by a global technology leader like Intel affirms the efforts of our R&D 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 of strategy and finance at InterDigital.

“These patents will support Intel’s strategic investments in the mobile segment,” commented 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.”

The companies expect the deal to close in the third quarter of 2012.

In April, Intel paid $75 million (£46 million) for a selection of patents from software provider Aware, related to Wi-Fi, LTE and home networking. Before that, it splashed $120 million on RealNetworks’ popular video codec software, as well as 190 patents and 170 patent applications.

Last week, Mike Bell, general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group, told TechWeekEurope that the company is aiming to get its chips into the majority of mobile devices, not create brand awareness.

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