The race to 5G has been predominantly led by a handful of companies, including European leaders Ericsson and Nokia, as well as the likes of Huawei, Qualcomm and Samsung. Unsurprisingly, Nokia and Ericsson are among the top patent owners from the telecoms industry in Europe, but the rise of the latest wireless generation underlines the degree to which the space is about much more than those heading wireless infrastructure.
Qualcomm’s early focus on mobile chips is continuing to pay off, while Apple has steadily built its assets in 5G and IoT-related technologies, in part through the acquisition of Intel’s smartphone business. With 5G promising better connectivity across a range of devices – not just smartphones – these patents are increasingly valuable for their owners.
Table 1. Telecoms players from top 100
|Company name||EU grants||Industry||Country of origin|
Table 2. Technology trends
|Top trends||Top players||Active grants||Top players 2019-2020||Active grants 2019-2020||Key areas||Other key players|
5G networks and IoT
|Ericsson||5,389||Ericsson||2,046||Network management and access controls, electric vehicle controls, hand-off communications, navigation and mobility management, instant messaging/video calling, machine-to-machine interactions, wireless transmission, multiplexing, power management, network and data security, resource management|
Qualcomm, Samsung, LG Corp, Apple, Sony
Network and security
Data integrity intrusion detection system, security testing, user authentication, biometric and HMI based security, unauthorised access restriction, malicious traffic prevention, privacy protection
Qualcomm, Samsung, Intel
Human-machine interaction-based devices
Natural language processing, gesture sensing, human-machine interaction, augmented, virtual and mixed reality, voice recognition/speech analysis, HMI transmission, image processing, biometric security
Samsung, Sony, Microsoft