The 5G race continues. While most of it is all about getting commercial 5G contracts from telecommunications companies, the patented technology of every network infrastructure provider also plays a big role.
The recent article by Forbes highlights the importance of valuable 5G patents, versus patent quantity. The valuable patent refers to the kind of patents that are essential to the growth and development of the product, in this case, the 5G standard, and infrastructure. The more valuable patents the company has in a certain product, the more important they are in the development (without discrediting all the contributors). Patents are tangible assets, thus it presents a challenge in terms of valuation. IEEE Spectrum has a Patent Power metric that measures the quality of 5G patents submitted in the US patent office per company.
When it comes to quantity, Chinese tech giant Huawei leads with 3,147 total 5G patents filed in the US. However, per the IEEE Spectrum Patent Power rating, Qualcomm has the “best” 5G patents, while Huawei ranks No. 9. Nokia is No. 4 in terms of quality, just behind Qualcomm, Cisco, CommScope, and Corning. Interestingly, Nokia’s other legal divisions in the US patent office, like Alcatel-Lucent, and Nokia Solutions and Network is also included in the list and if added up, it puts Nokia in the third place, just behind Qualcomm and Cisco.
Patents are important in any industry because they make research and development more lucrative because they can be monetized even outside of delivered products.