Racing to Control the Future of Technology: The 5G Patent Race

According to some projections, about 50% of the world's data volume will be created by or between cars, sensors, or other diverse sorts of networked devices in the future.

5G, which has been hailed as a game-changer, has the potential to disrupt a wide range of industries, from automotive to medical, and may be instrumental in ushering in the fourth industrial revolution.

5G technology will become more important in other areas as well. Not only will 5G alter the way humans interact, but it will also alter the way everything communicates. Electronics, software, sensors, and the cloud will connect the entire physical world.

Assessing which businesses are driving the development of 5G is of great economic and political importance right now.

Companies that design and specify 5G technologies, as well as possess key patents for these technologies, will be among the technological leaders in a soon-to-be completely linked society.

5G in a Nutshell

5G is the fifth generation of mobile networks and is the newest worldwide wireless standard. 5G allows for the creation of a new type of network that connects practically everyone and everything, including machines, objects, and gadgets.

5G brings about three new features. Namely, bigger channels for faster broadband speeds, lower latency for better responsiveness, and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once.

5G works by using a system of cell sites that split their area into sectors and transmit encoded data using radio waves, just as it is in existing cellular networks. Cell sites must be wired or wirelessly linked to a network backbone.

The objective is to provide much greater speeds and capacity per sector than 4G while maintaining significantly reduced latency. The aim is for 20 Gbps speeds and 1-millisecond latency, at which time really fascinating things start to happen.

Using and Applying 5G Technologies

5G is utilized in three sorts of linked services: improved mobile broadband, mission-critical communications, and the vast Internet of Things (IoT). Forward compatibility—the capacity to flexibly accommodate future services that are unknown today—is also one of 5G's distinguishing features.

5G mobile technology has the potential to bring in new immersive experiences like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) with faster, more consistent data rates, reduced latency, and cheaper cost-per-bit, in addition to making our devices better.

With ultra-reliable, accessible, low-latency connectivity, 5G can also allow new services that can change businesses and industries, such as remote control of key infrastructure, cars, and medical operations.

At the consumer level, it is estimated that by 2022, the average customer will use over 11 GB of data per month on their smartphone. This is due to the enormous rise in always-connected cloud computing and experiences, as well as the rapid growth in video traffic as mobile becomes a more important source of media and entertainment.

The mobile ecosystem will be expanded to include new sectors with 5G. To mention a few, this will contribute to cutting-edge user experiences such as limitless extreme reality (XR), seamless IoT capabilities, new corporate apps, local interactive content, and immediate cloud access.

For businesses, 5G will have a huge influence because of its fast data rates and excellent network dependability. The advantages of 5G will improve corporate productivity while also providing people with faster access to more information.

Some organizations, depending on their sector, can take full use of 5G capabilities, particularly those that require high speed, low latency, and network capacity that 5G is meant to deliver. Smart factories, for example, may utilize 5G to operate industrial Ethernet to boost operational productivity and precision.

And lastly, smart cities could use 5G in a variety of ways to improve the lives of residents, primarily by providing greater efficiencies in areas such as automotive safety, infrastructure, virtual reality, and entertainment, by providing more connectivity between people and things, higher data speeds, and lower latency than ever before.

The Race for 5G Patents

With the limitless applications for 5G technology, many companies are investing in developing such technologies to establish themselves as industry leaders.

Over the last few years, patent holders for 2G, 3G, and 4G technologies have had a lot of say in how mobile technologies are employed in the smartphone and computer industries. As a result, 5G patent holders are expected to become market and technological leaders.

While this will generate a profitable market for holders of relevant patents, it might also pose a legal danger for implementers, as the royalty-level judged "fair" for 5G patents is hard to anticipate.

A key thing to note is that thousands of patents cover connectivity standards, and some of these patents claim inventions that are based on standardized technology. Patents of this type are known as standard-essential patents (SEPs).

SEP owners will seek royalties for their SEPs, and recent patent litigation in the car sector demonstrates both how profitable the SEP licensing market is and how the smartphone battles have shifted to the auto industry, with the potential to spill over into other industries.

According to an IPlytics Platform survey, Huawei is currently the industry leader of 5G declared patent families with a share of more than 13.52%. Qualcomm is in second with 9.97%. Samsung with 9.94%, ZTE with 9.83%, and LG Electronics with 9.04% rounds up the top 5.

The survey surmises that the top 10 businesses possess more than 80% of all awarded 5G patent families, while the top 20 own more than 93% of all granted 5G patent families.

Although these figures show that there are just a few significant corporate 5G patent owners, the IPlytics Platform database found more than 100 independent firms that have declared ownership of at least one 5G patent.

The survey also looked at whether the 5G patents filed by these companies are considered essential. According to several well-known SEP studies, between 20% and 30% of all claimed patents are essential. For this metric, Samsung leads for 5G patent ownership at 18.52%, followed by Nokia (at 11.44%), and Qualcomm (at 10.75%).

In addition to the announced patent data analysis, the IPlytics Platform collects information on standard establishing businesses that are actively participating in the creation of 5G standards. For this, the numbers show that Huawei (17.58%), Ericsson (14.47%), and Nokia (10.00%) are by far the strongest standards developers, followed by Samsung (6.70%), Qualcomm (6.65%), and ZTE (6.02%).

What This Means

Licensing of 5G SEPs appears to be a big issue not just for the smartphone business, but also for any industry or sector where connectivity is important.

It is important to remember that future connection technologies, such as 5G, will increasingly rely on technological standards. The number of 5G SEPs is also continually increasing; patent departments should plan ahead of time for royalty expenditures and adequate security payments.

Additionally, to comprehend the landscape of 5G patent holders, patent departments should not only monitor and analyze the information derived from patent data. They should also look at patent declaration data, claim charts, patent pool data, and standardization data such as technical contributions.

Even if SEPs are licensed in, standards implementers should be aware of the dynamic market of changing SEP ownership, in which patent assertion organizations frequently buy SEP portfolios in order to assert large royalty payments.

Categories: Patents