Why Do You Need a License From ARM to Design An ARM CPU? (Explained)

There are a few reasons you might need a license from ARM to design an ARM CPU. The first reason is that ARM is a trademark of the company.

Anyone wishing to produce CPUs using the ARM architecture must obtain a license from ARM. The second reason is that certain features of the ARM architecture are protected by patents.

If you wish to design a CPU using any of these protected features, you will need to obtain a license from the patent holder. In this article, you can get all the information related to why is it that you need a license from ARM to design an ARM CPU?

What is ARM?

ARM is a processor architecture that is used in mobile devices and embedded systems. It was originally designed by ARM Holdings but has been licensed to other companies such as Qualcomm and Samsung.

ARM processors are used in a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and cars.

Why do you need a license from ARM to design an ARM CPU?

If you want to design an ARM CPU, you need a license from ARM. This is because ARM Holdings owns the patent to the ARM architecture.

Anyone wanting to create a CPU that uses this architecture must have a license from ARM.

There are several reasons ARM licenses its architecture. 

  • One reason is that it helps protect the patents that ARM holds on the technology. By requiring licenses, ARM can ensure that only licensed companies can create CPUs that use its technology.
  • This helps prevent other companies from copying and infringing on their patents.
  • Another reason for licensing is that it allows ARM to control the quality of CPUs that are created using its technology.
  • By having strict requirements for those who receive licenses, ARM can ensure that only high-quality CPUs are produced. This helps maintain the reputation of the ARM architecture and ensures that end-users receive the best possible products.

The benefits of having a license from ARM:

There are many benefits to having a license from ARM. One of the most important benefits is that you can use the ARM architecture in your designs.

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This means that you can take advantage of the wide range of ARM processors and development tools that are available. Another benefit is that you can access technical support from ARM.

If you have any questions or problems with your design, you can contact ARM for help.

Additionally, having a license from ARM gives you access to training and events where you can learn more about using ARM processors in your designs.

Why Do You Need a License From ARM to Design An ARM CPU? (Explained)
Why Do You Need a License From ARM to Design An ARM CPU? (Explained)
  • Licensing fees:

When designing an ARM CPU, there are a few things to consider. One of those is the licensing fees associated with using the ARM architecture.

The fee structure can be a little confusing, so it’s important to understand what you’re getting into before starting your project.

There are three different types of licenses available from ARM: Licensed IP cores, Evaluation licenses, and full licenses.

Licensed IP cores are the most expensive, but also the most comprehensive. They include everything you need to start developing a product using the ARM architecture.

Evaluation licenses are less expensive but don’t include some of the more specialized features of the ARM core.

Full licenses give you access to all the features of the ARM core but are also the most expensive option. It’s important to choose the right license for your project.

  • Patent protection:

In order to protect their investment in ARM’s CPU design, ARM Holdings applied for and was granted a series of patents in the early 1990s.

These patents covered the basic concepts of the ARM processor, including its RISC architecture, pipeline, and VLIW architecture.

As a result, any company wanting to make a clone of the ARM processor would have to license these patents from ARM Holdings.

This has helped to ensure that ARM remains the dominant player in the low-power microprocessor market.

  • Quality control:

ARM architecture is becoming more and more popular in the world of microprocessors. This is due, in part, to its low power consumption and small size.

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However, one potential downside of using an ARM CPU is the lack of quality control in the design process.

One reason for this is that there are so many companies that produce ARM-based processors. This means that there is no standardization among manufacturers, which can lead to problems with compatibility and quality.

Another issue is that the ARM architecture is not as tightly regulated as other architectures, such as x86. This can lead to poor-quality chips being released into the market.

However, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that you get a high-quality ARM processor. Firstly, you should make sure that you buy from a reputable manufacturer.

  • Distribution agreements:

ARM Holdings is a British multinational semiconductor and software design company, owned by SoftBank Group. It is the world’s most popular 32-bit RISC microprocessor architecture.

The company has a distribution agreement with Qualcomm, which means that ARM licenses its architecture to Qualcomm and then Qualcomm makes processors based on that architecture for mobile devices. This has helped to make ARM the leading processor in mobile phones and tablets.

In February 2017, Apple announced that it was designing its own processors using an ARM architecture license from ARM Holdings. This was a major blow to Qualcomm, as Apple is one of its largest customers.

  • Branding and marketing:

When designing an ARM CPU, it’s important to think about branding and marketing. How will you market your CPU? What features will you highlight? What makes your CPU unique?

One approach is to target specific markets. For example, you might focus on low-power applications or on devices that need to be small and lightweight. You can also target certain industries, such as automotive or medical devices.

Another approach is to create a strong brand identity. This involves developing a clear message and using consistent marketing materials. It’s also important to have a good logo and website.

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Whatever approach you choose, be sure to think about the needs of your customers and how your CPU can meet those needs.

  • Royalties:

ARM Holdings is a British company, founded in 1990, that designs the ARM architecture.

ARM Holdings licenses its architecture to other companies, who design their own CPU cores that implement the ARM instruction set. These companies then pay ARM Holdings a royalty for every chip sold.

The royalties generated by ARM Holdings account for a significant portion of the company’s revenue. In fiscal year 2017, royalties accounted for 42% of the company’s revenue.

This was down from 49% in fiscal year 2016, as the market for mobile devices has slowed. However, ARM Holdings is still profitable, earning £522 million in net income in fiscal year 2017.

One reason why ARM Holdings is able to charge such high royalties is that its architecture is very efficient.

The low power consumption and small size of ARM-based chips make them ideal for mobile devices and other battery-powered applications.


In conclusion, the ARM license is required in order to legally design an ARM CPU. This is due to the many patented technologies that ARM holds.

While this may seem like a burden, it is actually a testament to ARM’s success in the industry.

By licensing their technology, ARM has ensured that only qualified companies can produce ARM-based products, which helps maintain the quality and integrity of the ARM brand.

In this article, you can get everything related to Why is it that you need a license from ARM to design an ARM CPU?

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