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Intel bags $120m patent hoard from RealNetworks

190 patents, 170 applications, and 'next-generation' video codec

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In the latest maneuver of the tech industry's ongoing patent wars, Intel has struck a $120m deal with RealNetworks to purchase 190 patents and 170 patent applications, along with what both companies define as "next-generation video codec software".

"Selling these patents to Intel unlocks some of the substantial and unrealized value of RealNetworks assets," said RealNetworks president and CEO Thomas Nielsen in a statement announcing the sale.

Neilsen also noted that the next-gen video codec part of the deal includes the engineers working on that software.

The general manager of Intel's Software and Services Group, Renée James, expressed Chipzilla's high regard for the purchase. "The acquisition of these foundational media patents, additional patents and video codec software expands Intel's diverse and extensive portfolio of intellectual property," she said.

Under the terms of the deal, RealNetworks will retain "certain rights" to use the patents and patent applications in both current and future products, but the company did not elaborate on exactly what those rights might be.

RealNetworks has also inked a deal to collaborate with Intel on future products. "We look forward to working with Intel to support the development of the next-generation video codec software," said Nielsen, "and to expanding our relationship into new products and markets.

From where we sit, the deal looks like a win-win for the two companies. Intel beefs up its patent portfolio in the exploding media-streaming market, and RealNetWorks gets a chunk of change it can use, as Nielsen explains, "to boost investments in new businesses and markets while still protecting our existing business."

And, of course, Intel's legal team gets the opportunity to pore over those patents and see which ones it might use to toss roadblocks in the way of its competitors. ®

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