Peter Bright, Ars Technica:
Fulfilling its 2017 promise to make Thunderbolt 3 royalty-free, Intel has given the specification for its high-speed interconnect to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the industry group that develops the USB specification. The USB-IF has taken the spec and will use it to form the basis of USB4, the next iteration of USB following USB 3.2.
Making Thunderbolt royalty-free and not dependent on an Intel controller chip would likely be of considerable interest to a company that may want to build the protocol into a non-Intel platform. I wonder if any company in particular comes to mind.