icdesign.jpgHong Kong proposes a novel solution to the thorny problem of protecting intellectual property in the chip industry.

Hong Kong's new science park has created an IP servicing centre
(IPSC) to offer a range of services covering the licensing, hardening,
integration and verification of integrated circuit (IC) designs.

The
big attraction of Hong Kong is that, on the one hand, it gives
privileged access to mainland China's fast-developing chip sector.
While, on the other, HK is seen to be a more “secure” home for IP than
the mainland.

To emphasise the latter point, the IPSC says it
will make use of Hong Kong law for any legal dispute over IP. A key
vehicle for this will be the HK International Arbitration Centre, which
is based in the SAR.

The HK science and technology park was
inaugurated in 2001 and already has an IC design centre, intended to
provide a “one-stop” service for chip designers in local and
international firms. The IPSC takes this support a stage further by
helping firms protect their design data — their most important IP.

China's domestic chip industry is rapidly evolving from foundry functions to design-based processes — see this earlier story
on SMIC. It will be interesting to see if China's small but growing
number of IC design houses can carve out a market outside the PRC.

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