The number of international patent applications submitted to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reached 218,000 last year, setting a new record, according to a press release of WIPO on March 16. Regarding numbers of filed patents, by country, the United States remained the largest, while China saw the fastest growth; by enterprise, Huawei Technology retained its leading position among global enterprises.
In 2015, the United States submitted a total of about 57,400 applications, followed by Japan and China with about 44,200 and 29,800 applications filed, respectively. According to WIPO, China, South Korea and Israel saw the biggest growth in patent applications last year, with respective increase rates being 16.8%, 11.5% and 7.4%.
Among enterprises, Huawei ranked first for the second year with 3,898 applications, followed by Qualcomm with 2,442 applications and China's ZTE with 2,155 applications.
In the opening ceremony of the fourth session of the 12th The National People’s Congress (NPC) held on March 5, Prime Minister Li Keqiang said in a speech entitled “Report on the Work of the Government “that China should improve its protection and application of intellectual property. Not long ago, telecommunications giant Huawei renewed a global patent cross-licensing agreement with Ericsson. In fact, communications and technology companies agree that protecting innovation and intellectual property is essential in further developing the smartphone industry, and patent plays a hugely important role in the development of smartphone manufacturers, and is the basis for transnational enterprises to lead in innovation and achieve growth. Huawei’s upward momentum in its global development clearly underscores this point.
How far has Huawei gone in the world of patents?
As an emerging technology company seeing fast growth in the smartphone era, Huawei has performed especially well in terms of patents. Huawei has obtained a large number of patents not only in China but also in overseas areas, making it qualified to be included into the "giant-class" and the competition to its Western counterparts in the mobile phone industry.
According to the 2015 annual report of the European Patent Office (EPO), Huawei ranks ninth in Europe with 498 granted applications, and remains among the top 10 in Europe with this number. In the 2015 European Patent Application rankings, Huawei was fourth with 1,953 patent applications, and first with 1,197 patent applications in the digital communications field in terms of differentiation techniques. At present, Huawei is growing steadily with an annual increase of 1,300 patent applications globally.
As we know, Huawei has a considerable patent reserve and is rapidly acquiring new patents. At the same time, Huawei has also entered into patent cross-licensing agreements with Apple and Ericsson. So as one of the leaders in the global communications and technology industries, Huawei is not only working to build its own intellectual property reserve nut also cooperating with other big players to observe and maintain order in the field of patents.
Patent applications on their own do not give the applicant any advantages, as only granted patents can be used to protect interests. In fact, in international patent litigation cases only patents granted overseas can be considered as the legal basis.
Over the past few decades, Huawei has accumulated a leading number of overseas patents. By 2015, Huawei Consumer BG had more than 9,000 global patent applications, including more than 2,000 patents obtained in China and 1,100 in overseas areas like Europe, America and other regions.
Huawei clearly enjoys a considerable advantage in patents, which is considered as crucial intellectual ammunition in international competition. Over the next 10 or 20 years, this basic advantage will help propel Huawei forward, allow it to focus on technological innovation and product development, to maintain stable and efficient growth, and to solidify its global competitive advantages.