Electronic – Intel x86 and patent implications


It's been a long time since x86 was introduced (80386 for example was manufactured 27 years ago… Oh god I am old), so I wonder, what is stopping 3rd party companies from manufacturing x86-compatible processors?

Also, I've heard that one cannot patent instruction set architecture, what is patented then which prevents from manufacturing compatible processors?

I can understand that one cannot use Intel or x86 trademarks, but what else?

Update: Does anyone have a link to oldest 'blocking patent' on any x86 tech (486, Pentium) which is still in effect?

Best Answer

Why isn't anyone interested in licensing the Ford T? That was a great car!

Well it was. And at the time the x86 probably was a good processor too (though we had to suffer from its 64 kB segment limit for several computer generations). But for high end it has been surpassed by several generations of Pentium, and for embedded we've seen the advance of ARM, which is a lot cheaper and consumes much less power.