Intel Corp is reportedly planning to hold an auction to sell around 8,500 of its patents. The move is part of the company's exit from the mobile modem market, a decision that was made following the settlement between market leaders Apple and Qualcomm back in April of this year.
According to reports citing sources close to the matter, Intel plans to sell around 6,000 patents related to 3G, 4G, and 5G mobile modem standards. The company is also selling around 1,700 patents related to wireless implementation technologies as well as 600 patents related to "broad applicability" in industries such as semiconductors and electronics.
A report from IAM revealed that the big auction will be held at Intel's office in Palo Alto, with Sullivan & Cromwell's Nader Mousavi leading the event. Amongst the different tech firms actively working to develop new telecommunications technologies, Intel is currently one of the largest patent recipients in Silicon Valley, right behind Google and Apple.
The upcoming auction will reportedly be split into two parts, namely a sale for the company's cellular portfolio and a separate sale for its connected devices portfolio. While it will be letting go of its mobile modem business, Intel is apparently still holding on to its 5G networking assets. What the company plans to do with it is still unknown.
Intel officially exited from the 5G market when Apple, one of its biggest customers, settled its dispute with Qualcomm. With the multi-year dispute now behind them, Apple had signed an agreement with Qualcomm to purchase the 5G modems it needed exclusively from the San Diego-based chipmaker. Without its largest buyer, Intel had decided to cut all its ties with the modem market.
Intel had reportedly spent more than $1 billion per year to develop its mobile modem business. However, the company had reportedly been having problems meeting Apple's requirements and deadlines. At one point, Apple apparently attempted to purchase Intel's modem business. According to analysts, it is not yet clear if Intel will approach Apple once again to offer its patents and business as a single package. If that does not happen, the company does have the option of splitting its assets up and selling them to different companies.
Analysts predict that Intel's patent sale could be the biggest one since Nortel launched its patent auction in 2011. Nortel was able to earn more than $4.5 billion during its patent auction, with big-name companies including Apple banding together to purchase the majority of the patents on the block. The consortium of companies managed to offer large bids for Nortel's patents, outbidding even Google.