Semiconductor IP News and Trends Blog
Trends of Trends in Semiconductor Intellectual Property
What do the lists of trends from Ocean Tomo and UBM TechInsights really tell us about the future of SIP?
The season of intellectual-property (IP) forecasts and predictions is upon us. Let’s recap the most recent announcements from two prominent sources – Ocean Tomo and UBM TechInsights – and then summarize the results.
Ocean Tomo (paraphrased):
- Patent transactions will increase in volume.
- IP litigation will impact internal IP strategy.
- There will be no major changes in software patents.
- IP integration will spread across business units.
- IP will get a seat at the table in M&A transactions.
UBM TechInsights (paraphrased):
- Non-practicing entities will seek out new industries, such as medical and automotive.
- An increasing number of firms will partner to spread patent acquisition costs and share risk. (JB: Similar to MIPS group or IMEC?)
- Software patents will struggle with validity issues.
- Managing IP costs/creation will be part of the new business model.
- Asian companies will transform IP practices in their regions.
My summary of trends from Ocean Tomo and UBM TechInsights follows:
Surprisingly, both analyst houses seem to arrive at the same conclusion, but from different directions – the former from the business community and the latter from the technical market. Here’s my take on the similarities:
- Companies from many different sources – including non-practicing entities (patent trolls?) – will greatly increase the selling and licensing of their IP and the acquisition of new IP. (For example, consider the intense IP activities now occurring in the semiconductor advanced-materials market (see “Graphene: “Patent surge reveals global race”).
- An increasing number of firms will partner to spread patent acquisition costs and share risk. Examples of this partnership might include the Allied Security Trust/MIPS acquisition and the Open Innovation approach used by Imec.
- Increased litigation will impact internal IP strategies including the managing of existing and creation of new IP. This is why I’ve written lately about the likelihood of IP litigation impeding real innovation (see “Moore’s Law Meets Death Star”). Also, this litigation will affect external IP strategies [e.g., becoming a critical part in future merger and acquisition (M&A) activities].
- Software patents – always a bit tricky to handle – will remain an issue.
- Asian companies – especially a few key leaders in Taiwan and China – will transform IP practices in their regions and then across the world. This is why the recent Chinese IP portal was an important announcement (see”Chipestimate.com and SMIC Showcase Chinese Domestic Semiconductor IP”).
In my next blog, I’ll ask experts from our world of semiconductor IP – like Rich Wawrzyniak at Semico Research and others – for their insight into significant near-term trends.