The recent (since 2016) news about Apple, China, FTC and other organizations positioning in respect with IP are concerning, as it seems indicating that Intellectual Property in general (Design IP and Technology IP) is at risk. Let’s consider several facts through different cases, involving ARM, Qualcomm, Imagination Technologies vs Apple, the Chinese government or various organization in Europe and the US.
ARM vs China
ARM is by far the #1 Design IP vendor, with $1, 660 million revenues in 2017. China is becoming to be an important semiconductor market, where chip design activity is fast growing with the Chinese government support. SoC design is characterized by CPU (or DSP, GPU) integration, ARM’s CPU market share is 86%. This makes ARM CPU almost unavoidable, especially for wireless application processor design. In May 2017, ARM – Softbank has created a joint-venture with “Chinese investors” (piloted by the Chinese government) at 49% (ARM) 51% (China). ARM had probably no other choice if the company wanted to continue to license IP in China, so they closed the deal.
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