Qualcomm (QCOM) is formalizing a division that analysts have been keenly aware of for some time. The San Diego semiconductor company is separating its patent licensing unit from the rest of the business. By creating a separate division, Qualcomm Technology Licensing Division (QTL), Qualcomm can protect its patent portfolio from any legal problems that might result from actions taken by other parts of the company.
Under its new corporate structure, Qualcomm will put its primary business unit into a wholly owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI). QTI and its subsidiaries will operate Qualcomm’s semiconductor business (QCT), its product and services businesses, and its research and development. Meanwhile the parent company, Qualcomm Incorporated, will include QTL (patent licensing) and all other corporate functions.
Some patents will remain with the operating company: those specifically developed for purposes of providing open source software contributions by QTI and its subsidiaries. In a press release, Qualcomm said it expects to increase its work with open source software in the future and this restructuring will help “ensure that QTI and its subsidiaries’ activities do not result in the licensing of any of Qualcomm Incorporated’s patents, including its 3G and 4G patents.”
Follow me on Twitter.