LONDON Danish play materials specialist Lego Group has become the 21st company to license the Moore Microprocessor patent porfolio (MMP) from The TPL Group.
Lego Group (Billund, Denmark) would not say exactly how it would use the patents and financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
"Lego's purchase of an MMP license highlights the pervasive use of MMP Portfolio technology across an ever increasing range of products," commented Andre-Pascal Chauvin, VP of Licensing in Alliacense’s European office, in a statement.
"The benefits of MMP Portfolio technology extend well beyond common consumer electronics products to include toys, games, and gambling machines. The purchase of a license for the ubiquitous MMP Portfolio technologies should be a high priority for any manufacturer of microprocessor-based products."
TPL formed an alliance with Patriot Scientific Corp. in 2005 and pooled processor technology patents together in the "Moore Microprocessor Patent (MMP)" portfolio, named after Charles H. Moore, chief technology officer of TPL Group, who is credited with inventing the Forth software programming language and is known for his work in the 1980s on stack-based microprocessors.
The portfolio includes seven U.S. patents, as well as their European and Japanese counterparts, which Patriot and The TPL Group have said they consider fundamental to the design of modern microprocessors, microcontrollers and system-on-chip devices.
Three of the patents are: U.S. Patent 5,809,336, which covers the separate clocking of a CPU and its I/O; U.S. Patent 6,598,148, which covers the use of multiple cores and embedded memory; and U.S. Patent 5,784,584, which covers fetching multiple instructions.
Since January 2006 a wide range of companies have taken a license on the patents for different applications. The companies include Nokia, Bull, HP, Casio, Fujitsu, Sony, Nikon, Seiko Epson, Pentax, Olympus, Kenwood, Agilent, Lexmark, Schneider Electric, NEC Corporation, Funai Electric, SanDisk, and Sharp Corporation.
Patriot and the TPL Group have been generally tight lipped about the financial terms of MMP portfolio licensing agreements. However, in a regulatory filing made last June, Patriot revealed that Intel Corp. paid $10 million in a one off payment to license the portfolio, while its smaller rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., paid $2.95 million.
Last month at the NI Week Conference, the reality of an unmanned air vehicle based on a Lego kit was used by the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine to illustrate the democratization of technology, a phenomenon described in his book "The Long Tail".
Using a Lego Mindstorms kit as the processing and control foundation, Anderson and his eight-year old son added a gyroscope, infrared vision for stability, GPS capability, a cellphone-based coordinates input scheme to guide the model and a basic imaging system to conduct "reconnaisance" at the destination. The data was then sent back over the same 3G network the cellphone communications system used.