In the report, undertaken by independent research company IPLytics, and titled “Fact-finding study on patents declared to the 5G standard”, Samsung topped the list of global companies with the number of granted patent families for 5G, which came in at 1,728.
However, it was Huawei that headed the list of declared patents, with 3,147; Samsung came second with 2,795, while ZTE was third with 2,561.
“These figures on 5G patents are the result of our continued and unrelenting commitment to 5G innovation,” said Sunghyun Choi, Senior Vice President and head of Advanced Communications Research Center at Samsung Research. “Based on our leadership in 5G patents, we will continue to advance 5G and spearhead the development of next generation telecommunication technologies that will transform our daily lives in future.”
5G technology is highly patented
Like all areas of technology, there are tens of thousands of telecommunication patents, known as standard essential patents (SEPs), and companies looking to license any SEP must do so under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms (this is usually in the form of a licensing fee).
“The past few years have shown that 3G and 4G patent holders have controlled how mobile technologies are used in the smartphone industry,” explains the executive summary of the report. “Owners of 5G SEPs will likely become technology and market leaders, thus enabling 5G connectivity in various markets.”
The reason that granted patents take precedence over filed and declared patents, is that a granted patent is enforceable, and officially acknowledged as exclusive to the patent owner.
The results of the study illustrate – not surprisingly – that 5G technology is highly patented. In total, 95,526 5G declarations patents have been declared (which can be broken down into 21,571 unique patent families).
Thus far, only 44% of these patent families have yet been granted, but this is to be expected, with 5G being a nascent technology sector, and with most of the above patents being filed in just 24 months (between 2017 and 2019).
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