Intel buys RealNetworks patents for $120M

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Intel has purchased 190 patents and 170 patent applications from RealNetworks for $120 million.

The patents include technology invented to create next-generation video codecs, which encode or decode video so that it can be sent over networks efficiently. It’s one more example of a giant company “armoring up” to deal with potential patent wars in the future.

As part of the deal, Intel will acquire RealNetworks’ foundational streaming media patents, expanding Intel’s diverse portfolio of intellectual property.

Intel said the deal enhances its ability to “continue to offer richer experiences and innovative solutions to end-users across a wide spectrum of devices, including through Ultrabook devices, smartphones and digital media.”

RealNetworks will retain certain rights to continue using the patents in current and future products.

Thomas Nielsen, chief executive of RealNetworks in Seattle, said in an interview the deal is a good one because it helps Real maximize its assets but also allows the company to continue to use the technology it invented. Nielsen came on about eight weeks ago as CEO and he has been figuring out the company’s new strategy. He said he isn’t quite ready to talk about the larger strategy yet, but he noted that a big company like Intel will be able to take the video codecs and make them a more pervasive part of the mobile device landscape.