This paper introduces the Open Core Protocol (OCP) within the context of contemporary System On a Chip (SOC) design issues. It explains why a standardized industry socket interface is essential to competitive SOC designs and it reveals how OCP fulfills the requirements for such an interface. The discussion examines the necessity for SOC design acceleration to meet increasingly shorter time-to-market requirements as well as the advantages of subsequent reuse of developed Intellectual Property (IP). Finally, the material reviews three specific implementation contexts that illustrate the flexibility that OCP provides semiconductor core designs.