One way of answering this question is by analyzing the number of 5G patent held or applied for by different companies. With more than 2,100 patent applications filed and 608 (28 percent) granted, Chinese manufacturer Huawei took first place in the 2019 ranking complied by IPlytics.
The long-term vision is that 5G will lead to the invention of thousands of new products, technologies and services, increase productivity and allow for new industries to emerge. A global 5G network would unify mobile communication and connect individuals or devices to everything through the Internet of Things (IoT). 5G technology can connect vehicles, ships, buildings, meters, machines and other items with electronics, software, sensors and the Cloud, while embedded 5G technology would allow machines to exchange information and integrate computer-based systems in the physical world.
In recent years 3G and 4G patent owners have controlled the way in which mobile technologies have been used in the smartphone industry. Therefore, 5G patent owners will likely become technology and market leaders by enabling 5G connectivity in various markets. Using the database and analytics of the IPlytics platform tool, the report illustrates the increasing number of 5G SEPs that have been declared over the past five years – 5G SEPs are the patents that any company will have to use when implementing a standardized 5G technology. Also the reports summarizes all 5G related technical contributions (e.g. Tdocs) and 5G related standards meetings.
As the patenting process can take several years, this statistic reflects the fact that a large proportion of Huawei’s filings are recent. Finnish company Nokia has a large share of its patents already granted – but this could also mean they haven’t filed many recently.
Manufacturers from South Korea, a country where 5G was implemented faster than almost anywhere else, also make the list and also have had a majority of their patents already granted. Chinese provider ZTE is new to the game, with only a fraction of patents granted.