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What is Semiconductor IP?

Semiconductor IP is a potential revenue stream that should not be ignored. A company that invents unique semiconductors and gets their patents and other records in order can leverage semiconductor IP as revenue.

So what is semiconductor IP and how can it be leveraged?

Let’s explore.

What is Semiconductor IP

Semiconductor intellectual property, or SIP, is the design specifications of the logic, cell, or ship layout of part or all of a microprocessor. In a world where chips power so many of our everyday devices, these semiconductor designs are ubiquitous. Semiconductor IP can remain proprietary to the company that invented the design, or the inventing body might license their designs to other companies.

The IP, or intellectual property, of a semiconductor consists of any specifications, source code, or other information necessary for manufacturing a given semiconductor.

With the right patents in place – and the right evidence to support claims to those patents – the inventor of a given semiconductor can protect their design against patent infringement, while turning their designs into a revenue stream.

Proving ownership of IP can be complicated. It pays to work with partners with a track record of exhibiting IP ownership and getting patent design in order. Learn more about UnitedLex’s intellectual property management solutions.

Defining Intellectual Property

The definition of intellectual property, or IP, is any creation of the mind such as invention; literary and artistic work; designs; and material used in commerce such as names, symbols, and images.

In the United States, we have a complicated but robust system of law and regulation to protect the intellectual property produced by a person or organization. Tools such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks create protections for invented creations of the mind, enabling a given person or organization to either leverage their IP as a source of revenue. These laws also protect their investment in the event that a given piece of IP is unlawfully copied and reproduced for profit.

IP Design

At every stage, good semiconductor design creates detailed and precise documentation for both the manufacture and use of the semiconductors. Semiconductor design is IP-driven. The documentation produced during the design and subsequent invention of a semiconductor is valuable and a potential source of revenue.

The creation, preservation, and presentation of semiconductor IP can be patented. Once patented, the processes involved in replicating a given semiconductor might be licensed out. In order to preserve ownership of the semiconductor IP, the patents and related evidence of IP ownership must be generated and maintained in the proper way.

If that sounds complicated, it is. At UnitedLex, we’ve figured it all out – so you don’t have to. Contact us if you need help with intellectual property solutions.

Hard IP vs Soft IP

Hard IP is the documents, designs, instruction material, and blocks of code produced during the design and invention process of a given semiconductor. This kind of intellectual property can be reproduced and distributed. It makes it possible for other organizations to produce semiconductors of the same design.

Patents can be taken out for hard IP and leveraged as revenue streams. It’s important to create appropriate patents to protect intellectual property against unauthorized reproduction, or to create opportunities to license the IP as a revenue stream.

Soft IP is documentation that might be produced during the manufacture or use of a given semiconductor, documentation such as use or maintenance logs, or records of software running a given microprocessor or microchip, or reference documents such as user manuals or testing guides. Turning this soft IP into a physical reference is a process called “hardening.”

Obtaining soft IP can be a key component of proving that an organization is using a patented semiconductor. Obtaining soft IP as evidence of a given organization using a particular semiconductor requires a deft hand and a deep understanding of where to look and how to bring the pieces together to add up to a complete picture.

Semiconductor IP Market

More products every year are manufactured with microprocessors as a necessary part of their operation. This trend shows no sign of slowing. The market for microprocessors and microchips increases every year. New developments in technological needs, such as 5G, create an ever-growing market for new semiconductor designs, and therefore ever-growing needs for semiconductor IP.

Every year, more industries incorporate the use of microchips into their processes. Industries that had no need for semiconductors in the past have found the need for microchips in their day-to-day business. Cars have microprocessors. So do many refrigerators, watches, speaker systems, and more. Nowadays, even a lot of pets have microchips inserted. As a result, the semiconductor IP market is strong and growing.

In such an active market, more companies than ever before need to get their semiconductor IP patents and records in order.

Want to learn more about profitability with semiconductor IP? Download the whitepaper here.

UnitedLex is a technology and legal services company committed to delivering full-scale Digital Legal Transformation. The world’s most forward-thinking law departments rely on the company’s expertise in over 25 global jurisdictions. Founded in 2006, the team includes 3,000 legal, engineering, and technology professionals with major operations in 18 countries.

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