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Impinj Sells Non-RFID Assets, Moves Ahead as Pure Play

RFID tag and reader producer Impinj sold intellectual property and assets related to non-volatile memory to IC designer Virage Logic for $5.2 million. The sale is positioned as strategic, and privately-held Impinj will go forward as a a pure-play RFID company.
Jul 01, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.

July 1, 2008—RFID tag and reader developer Impinj divested its non-volatile memory (NVM) business and will emerge as a pure-play RFID company. Yesterday Seattle-based Impinj announced it sold its NVM intellectual property, including more than 50 patents, to integrated circuit designer Virage Logic for $5.2 million. Approximately 30 Impinj employees will join Virage Logic, which is headquartered in Fremont, California. Impinj will continue to use the NVM technology it developed in its RFID chips under a supply agreement with Virage Logic.

"The intellectual property for the NVM IP business has grown farther and farther away from the RFID business," Evan Fein, Impinj's vice president of finance and operations, told RFID Update. Non-RFID markets increasingly require component designs and sizes that aren't advantageous for RFID, he said, leaving fewer opportunities to leverage product developments.

Impinj is now focused solely on RFID and has 120 employees. Fein said RFID sales have been strong this year. In January, Impinj announced it received $14 million in venture funding, so the NVM IP divestiture appears to be motivated by strategy rather than the need to raise cash.

"The RFID business is poised for rapid growth and we want to make sure we don't miss any of those opportunities," said Fein.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund continued research and development and sales and marketing activities, and have not been earmarked for any special initiatives, according to Fein. Earlier this year Impinj released its latest generation passive UHF chip (see New RFID Chip Promises Major Performance Gains), which is one of the most important products in the company's portfolio.

Impinj's announcement came at the end of the first half of 2008, a period in which the RFID industry experienced one other divestiture, two additional acquisitions, and a $27 million venture capital investment deal. For details on each, see:
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