5G Patent Ownership Booms: Who Is Leading the Pack? 

5G Patent Ownership Booms: Who Is Leading the Pack?

October 10, 2023

We are excited to announce the publication of our latest 2023 report, “Who Is Leading the 5G Patent Race?“. This report acknowledges the world’s most influential owners of 5G-related patents in a top 50 ranking and provides an in-depth analysis of the 5G SEPs (standard essential patents) licensing market, which is set to become one of the most lucrative, not just in terms of royalties but also for maintaining leadership of increasingly competitive industrial value chains. 

The newest version of the yearly report is once again based on a vast collection of patent declarations from LexisNexis® IPlytics. As experts only classify 10-20% of the declared SEPS in the 5G landscape as truly essential, for the first time, the top 50 5G list is built on a consolidated rank that factors in the Patent Asset Index, an industry-acknowledged proprietary patent valuation metric, in addition to 3GPP standards contributions and pure patent declaration counts. 

How 5G will impact the current technology landscape 

This new generation of global wireless standards will affect a range of technologies used by millions in their daily lives. Where 3G and 4G primarily benefited mobile phone users, 5G will connect more devices within a network – such as electric vehicles, drones, and virtual reality (VR) technology. Manufacturers of such devices will need to rely on 5G connectivity standards which are subject to (SEPs). Owning SEPs in the 5G technology space will make monetizing and enforcing the patent portfolio crucial, highlighting to the business sector the importance of having an intellectual property strategy in place. 

The 5G patent landscape in numbers 

As of July 2023, the number of declared 5G patent families stood at over 60,000. This is almost 2.5 times more than the 24,000 patent families declared for 4G. Around half of these declarations were granted in Europe or the US, with approximately 5,000 patent families granted annually. The report surveys the share of ownership of these patent families and notes that while the number of ultimate owners of 5G patents has constantly increased, the majority of 5G patent families are owned by the top 10 5G ultimate owners. However, our analysis reveals that, while the top 10 owners control about 76% of all 5G declared patent families, the ownership trend is becoming “increasingly fragmented”.  

Geographically, Chinese companies continue to build upon an eight-year trend, which sees them now account for 32% of all declared 5G patent families. Indeed, the top 50 ranking is dominated by Chinese companies followed by US and European companies. 

The true 5G leaders 

Positions in the Top 50 list are allocated using patent valuation metrics, combined with standards contribution data analysis. This ensures that a bigger picture is shown, ultimately enabling the true 5G leaders to be ranked more accurately. Taking the first three places are Huawei, Qualcomm, and Samsung. Two more significant players, Ericsson and Nokia, make up the top five.  

(The complete Top 50 list is available in the full report) 

Other key highlights from the report: 

  1. Unprecedented Transparency: Gain insights into the 5G innovation landscape, including strategies and moves of 5G innovators and SEP licensing leaders.  
  1. Market Impact: Explore how 5G is poised to disrupt industries like automotive, energy, and healthcare and what it means for your business.  
  1. Geopolitical Implications: Understand the economic and geopolitical implications of owning valuable 5G-related SEPs.  
  1. Market Concentration: Discover that the top 10 players own a staggering 76% of 5G-declared patent families.  
  1. Global Trends: Dive into the geographical distribution of 5G patents and how the US, China, and Europe stack up.  
  1. Technical Insights: Get a glimpse into the patent portfolios of technical specifications and cellular protocols, including NB-IoT and V2X.  
  1. Business-Critical Insights: Learn how licensing 5G SEPs is becoming a business-critical task and gain a competitive edge.  

Looking to the 5G future 

The report concludes with “5 Important Considerations for the 5G Future”, for senior patent directors, licensing executives, or legal counsel. With 5G standards being essential to the forthcoming industrial revolution, it is crucial for businesses to consider the complexity of licensing and the expenditure on royalty costs and security payments.  

This report is a must-read for anyone interested in the 5G patent race and its implications. It provides valuable insights into the current state of the market and the trends that are shaping its future.  

Get a unique overview of the 5G patent landscape

Discover invaluable insights for forward-thinking businesses eager to embrace 5G technology. Download your copy now. 

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