Intel Ponies Up $375m To InterDigital For 1,700 Wireless Patents

Intel has spent $375 million today. On a new chip factory? A new fabrication plant? R&D? Nope. Patents. Lots, and lots, of patents. With IP litigation in the technology realm reaching crazy new heights (just look at Samsung vs. Apple for instance), the one that tech companies suddenly crave are patents. The more you have, the less likely you are to get sued; and if you are sued, the more likely you are to have some ammunition.

InterDigital is largely viewed as a patent house that simply collects patents, and then tries to strongarm major companies into forking out absurd licensing fees or just suing them altogether. There are two sides to each story, of course, but the track record speaks for itself. Today, InterDigital sold around 1,700 patents to Intel for $375 million. For those wondering, most of the patents surround 3G, LTE and 802.11 -- in other words, wireless patents. InterDigital is an active developer of advanced wireless technologies including WCDMA (Wideband CDMA), HSDPA (High Speed Download Packet Access) and HSUPA (High Speed Upload Packet Access) 3G technologies as well as LTE (Long Term Evolution) and LTE-Advanced 4G technologies. Intel obviously wouldn't mind owning some of that property itself, and instead of waiting for a suit, they simply ponied up.

The companies expect the transaction to be completed in third quarter 2012, subject to customary closing conditions and any required regulatory approvals. Will this spearhead any innovation at Intel? Probably not, but it just might stop a lawsuit.