Regarding ARM patents and whether they were Acorn. This is all a matter of timing since ARM originally meant Acorn Risc Machines.
One thing : it is not a "must" to influence the "big guys". If you wish to have influence then you must sell something or have your product embedded inside something that sells end everybody knows it e.g. Intel inside. Big guys can become very small guys if they back the wrong horse or fail to see something innovative.