Semiconductor Intellectual Property (IP) Companies -Arm Limited (UK) and Synopsys, Inc. (US) are the Key Players

Chicago, March 13, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The semiconductor intellectual property (IP) market was valued at USD 7.5 billion in 2024 and is projected to reach USD 11.2 billion by 2029; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.5% from 2024 to 2029. Increasing demand for electronics in healthcare and telecommunications industries, increasing demand for modern System-on-chip (SoC) designs, and decline in cost associated with chip designing are some of the key drivers driving the growth of semiconductor intellectual property (IP) market.

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Some prominent semiconductor intellectual property (IP) industry players have predominantly used acquisition and partnership tactics to strengthen their market position.

  • In November 2023, Synopsys, Inc. (US) announced the extension of its ARC Processor IP portfolio to include the new RISC-V ARC-V Processor IP, enabling customers to choose from a broad range of flexible, extensible processor options that deliver optimal power-performance efficiency for their target applications. Synopsys ARC-V Processor IP includes high-performance, mid-range, and ultra-low power options, as well as functional safety versions, to address a broad range of application workloads.
  • In November 2021, Elmos Semiconductor SE (Germany) announced a long-term partnership with Arm Limited (UK), whose energy-efficient processor designs have enabled advanced computing in more than 200 billion chips to date. Elmos has licensed a range of IPs from the industry-leading Arm Cortex-M family for its next-generation automotive microcontroller unit (MCU) products.

Major Semiconductor Intellectual Property (IP) companies include:

  • Arm Limited (UK)
  • Synopsys, Inc. (US)
  • Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (US)
  • Imagination Technologies (UK)
  • CEVA, Inc. (US)
  • Lattice Semiconductor (US)
  • Rambus (US)
  • eMemory Technology Inc. (Taiwan)
  • Silicon Storage Technology, Inc. (US)
  • VeriSilicon (China)
  • Achronix Semiconductor Corporation (US)
  • ALPHAWAVE SEMI (UK)
  • Analog Bits (US)
  • ARTERIS, INC (US)
  • Frontgrade Gaisler (Sweden)

Arm Limited (UK) and Synopsys, Inc. (US) are among the top 5 players in the semiconductor intellectual property (IP) market.

Arm Limited

Arm Limited was founded as Advanced RISC Machines Ltd, a joint venture between Acorn Computers (UK), Apple Computer (US) (now Apple Inc.), and VLSI Technology (US) (now NXP Semiconductors N.V). SoftBank Group (Japan) acquired Arm in 2016 in what was one of the biggest acquisitions in the semiconductor industry in that year. The acquisition enabled SoftBank to strengthen its position in the field of mobile and fixed Internet services; the company now intends to enter the Internet of Things (IoT) business.

Arm Limited engages in the design of microprocessors, physical IP, and related technology and software, and provides design tools to develop microprocessor applications. It further licenses and sells its technology and products such as processors, multimedia, physical IP, development tools, security IP, and system IP to electronic companies. It utilizes different technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, as well as 5G in its spectrum of product offerings.

Market Dynamics:

Driver: Increasing demand for electronics in healthcare and telecommunications industries

After the recent pandemic, the demand for new and advanced medical equipment to conduct analysis and diagnosis has increased in the healthcare industry. Portable medical equipment, for instance, patient monitoring devices, witnessed a surge in demand throughout the pandemic.  The increased global awareness has created an immense demand for personal monitoring devices even after the pandemic.

Restraint: Concerns related to Moore’s Law

According to Moore’s Law (stated by Gordon Moore, the founder of Intel, in 1965), the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double approximately every two years. Moore’s words were true to an extent, but this increase in the number of transistors reached 3 billion, built over an advanced 14 nanometer (nm) manufacturing process. This technological advancement offered long battery life, computing, video capturing, mobile connectivity, and security features. However, no further advancements in IC technology were noted as the industry players continued to fail to develop a new process node of sizing less than 10 nm. This could mean that Moore’s Law becomes irrelevant. This can either cause a slowdown in semiconductor market growth, or end IC development. It could also result in new beginnings for the semiconductor industry, leading to modern technologies such as silicon photonics.

Opportunity: Rising demand for advanced semiconductor components in automotive and telecommunications & data center verticals

Companies in the telecom & data centers, and automotive sector rely on sophisticated, complex electronic systems. The increasing demand for electronics and semiconductor components in these sectors created the need for innovative design solutions for chip manufacturing. The applications of MCUs, MPUs), analog ICs, sensors, interfaces, and memory in EVs, HEVs, autonomous vehicles and premium vehicles are increasing. As the significance of electronics mobility, connected cars, and vehicle connectivity increases, the demand for small gadgets with high functionality and performance improvements in the automotive sector is also expected to increase rapidly. Thereby, creating opportunities for players operating in the semiconductor intellectual property (IP) market.

Challenges: Increasing IP thefts and counterfeiting

 A majority of IP thefts, counterfeiting, and conflicts take place in Asia Pacific. IP thefts and counterfeiting lead to prohibitive costs. IP thefts mainly take place in ASIC and FPGA semiconductor intellectual property (IP) cores; this has been a major area of concern in other critical submarkets of the semiconductor intellectual property (IP) market.

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