| LONDON Earlier this year Arc International plc, a licensor of configurable processor intellectual property, was granted a series of patents, one of which it believes is fundamental to the use of configurable instruction sets within a system-level integrated circuit. |
In an interview with EE Times Carl Schlachte, chief executive officer of ARC, noted that most major licensors of processors are now using the term configurable to describe some aspect of their processor offerings.
ARC was established as an independent company in 1998 and has had patents pending for a number of years, Schlachte said. ARC received four additional patent grants covering broad aspects of the company's products in March 2005. Chief among the recent awards was the grant by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) of patent number 6,862,563, which is fundamental to the design of a System-on-Chip (SoC) using configurable CPU technology, the company has claimed.
“The ‘563 patent is important. There’s 14 more that have been granted. And we have 44 patents pending,” said Schlachte.
When asked if ARC was letting rivals, such as ARM Holdings plc, MIPS Technologies Inc. and Tensilica Inc., infringe on its patents, Schlachte said: “ARM and MIPS endorsing configurability is a good thing.”
He added: “We have a duty to investors to protect our position. We vigorously defend our intellectual property but we prefer to work with all companies to endorse configurability. We are, after all, an intellectual licensing company,” Schlachte said.
When asked if discussions with other processor licensors were underway, Schlachte declined to comment.