“but also because I suspect it would open Intel up to about a million patent lawsuits.”
Them and everyone else. A guy that taught me a lot about hardware said basically everyone was obfuscating both to make their IP last longer against cloners and to hide from patent suits. He said there were so many on microarchitecture that it might be either hard or impossible to build a compatible product without infringing on something. Especially what a big player has. His employer refused to sell to American buyers as added risk reduction.
So, he spent a lot of his time either obfuscating employers’ IP or reverse engineering that of 3rd parties. He told me ChipWorks was big on teardowns to find IP theft for big, patent holders. Finally, he said one time a competitor cloned his ASIC’s down to the transistor level. So, it’s a crazy game in hardware that involves many people who will take your money. clone your IP, or try to shut down your business to stay monopolies or oligopolies.