Report: Qualcomm has lead with 4G patents

Mon, 11/16/2009 - 7:10am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

It looks like Qualcomm may be able to extend its monopolistic hold on CDMA patents to the 4G world.

According to a report from ABI Research, Qualcomm has 24 percent of declarations surrounding LTE filed with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The ETSI produces globally applicable standards for information and communication technologies.

Other major LTE patent holders include InterDigital with 18 percent, Huawei with 10 percent, Nokia with 9 percent and Samsung with 7 percent. When considering the whole 4G environment, Samsung takes the second spot with 12 percent of all patent filings, and Nokia takes third with 6 percent.

In addition to LTE patent declarations, ABI research also found that Qualcomm has 16 percent of the 26,000 patents with potential relevance to 4G technologies, including WiMAX.

Report author and ABI researcher Stuart Carlaw warned that major changes could come ahead. “Given that these declarations reflect work completed 18 months ago, it is very feasible that this landscape could shift again during the coming two years as we see the 4G market ramp up,” Carlaw said in a report.

Carlaw went on to qualify his warning, saying he saw “no major reason why the licensing situation in 4G will be significantly different from that for 3G … The only major change is that the list of haves has changed significantly to embrace newly active patent holders such as Samsung and Huawei.”

The number of patents held by a company on a particular technology does not necessarily bear a direct connection to that company’s overall share of intellectual property rights. Generally speaking, the relevancy of patents to a particular technology is more important than the quantity of patents held on a technology.

Carlaw based his findings on analysis of IEEE declarations of essentiality, as well as a full search of patents relating to OFDM, OFDMA, Beamforming, SDMA, HARQ, SC-FDMA, MIMO and Fast Power Control.

More Broadband Direct 11/16/09:
•  Motorola buys CDN specialist BitBand
•  Sprint adds WiMAX coverage in Texas
•  Ruckus takes on Clear with "Smart" Wi-Fi
•  Sezmi pilots new type of TV service in LA
•  OpenTV powers Australian provider's upgrade
•  Brightcove bows 4th generation of video platform
•  Cisco raises bid for Tandberg to $3.4B
•  Report: Qualcomm has lead with 4G patents
•  Broadcast pioneer NBC prepares for cable takeover
•  Broadband Briefs for 11/16/09



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