Chip designer ARM is leading a consortium which is to acquire the patent portfolio of MIPS Technologies, the US semiconductor design company, in order to reduce the risk of expensive patent infringement suits in the chip design industry.
The MIPS patent portfolio includes 580 patents and patent applications covering microprocessor design, system-on-chip design and other related technology fields. The consortium, which comprises major technology companies affiliated with Allied Security Trust, the member-based patent holding company, will pay $350m in cash to acquire rights to the portfolio, of which ARM will contribute $167.5m.
"ARM is a leading participant in this consortium which presents an opportunity for companies to neutralise any potential infringement risk from these patents in the further development of advanced embedded technology," said Warren East, Chief Executive Officer of ARM.
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"Litigation is expensive and time-consuming and, in this case, a collective approach with other major industry players was the best way to remove that risk," East added.
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