In an unexpected move, Apple has signed a fresh license agreement with Hertfordshire-based semiconductor company Imagination Technologies Inc., granting it access to a “wider range of Imagination’s intellectual property” two years after telling the company that it would stop using its products in a blow that sent shares plummeting.
The mobile GPU specialist sells license rights to graphics technologies, AI cores and connectivity IP spanning RF, baseband and software. Apple has been pushing throughout 2019 to bring such technologies under closer control; subsuming part of fellow British chip firm Dialog Semiconductor in April 2019, to agreeing a deal for Intel’s mobile modem business in a $1 billion transaction inked in late July 2019.
Imagination Technologies, which was bought by China’s Canyon Bridge Capital Partners in September 2017 for £500 million, was the the UK’s tenth most active patent applicant in 2018, with 64 European patent applications; ahead of similar technology companies such as Dyson Technology with 13, and Arm with 14.
Today’s note did not specify the IP Apple gains access to under the fresh agreement, saying simply that it has “replaced the multi-year, multi-use license agreement with Apple… with a new multi-year license agreement under which Apple has access to a wider range of Imagination’s intellectual property in exchange for license fees.”