I am trying to get a clearer picture of how companies like ARM manage to stay afloat with just IP/Royalties. Recently ARM licensed some of it's instruction sets to Apple in order to design/build the M1 Chip. Also I have read about improvement grant backs here.

Say Apple came up with some form of next level improvements to what was licensed from ARM would this have meant ARM would have rights to build on the improvements from Apple and be able to license new technologies (based on the improvements) to other companies or clients in the future.

1 Answer 1


I don't know the particulars of the licenses ARM provides. I do know there are different ones. ARM can indeed make a great deal of money off the licenses without the need to invest in manufacturing plants and other costs associated with actually producing chips. If you want to learn more about their license options, they are quite open about them. Just look on the ARM website.

As for whether there are grant back provisions I don't know. Apple is a large company and it is possible they have negotiated a non-standard license with ARM. I kind of doubt that Apple would be in an agreement where they had to provide the fruits of their own research and development to others, but I don't know for sure. In any case, this question is really about contracts rather than patents which is outside the scope of Ask Patents.

  • found your answer very helpful nonetheless
    – LiNKeR
    Jun 6, 2021 at 9:12

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